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U.S. core inflation accelerates as drag from phone costs fades

DjelicS
Can America Control Inflation

As a major exporter of finished goods, the deceleration in PPI may have ramifications for global inflationary pressures in the months ahead.

Weekly earnings, adjusted for inflation, rose 0.4% in March from a month earlier.

Gasonline prices fell 4.9%.

That put the core CPI above the Fed's 2% target for its preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditure price index, which was up 1.8% in February. As such, many economists believe the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates three more times this year.

According to the agency, in annual terms (March 2018 to March 2017) the growth of consumer prices slowed down to 13.2% from 14% in February 2018 and 14.1% in January 2017. Energy costs, however, fell 2.1 percent as gasoline prices dropped 3.7 percent, the largest monthly decline since last May.

Fitch assumed that further subsidy reform in July will lead to energy price increases, given the increase in oil prices.

Albania posted annual inflation of 2% in March, after consumer prices rose by 2.1% y/y a month earlier, statistics office data showed on April 10.

Economists had forecast the CPI unchanged in March and the core CPI rising 0.2 per cent. Profits at industrial firms picked up pace in the first two months of the year from December but still lagged growth for the whole of 2017.

The core CPI's pickup will help reinforce the view of policy makers that inflation had been weighed down by transient factors such as the unusual weakness in the cost of wireless-phone services.

Previously, the Albanian central bank expected to reach the inflation target of 3% in 2018. Prices of cereals and bakery products rose 0.4 percent. Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence, which is what a homeowner would pay to rent or receive from renting a home, increased 0.3 per cent last month after climbing 0.2 per cent in February.

Prices for new motor vehicles and recreation were unchanged last month.

Healthcare costs increased 0.4 per cent, with prices for hospital care shooting up 0.6 per cent and the cost of doctor visits rising 0.2 per cent. Apparel prices fell 0.6 per cent after two straight months of robust increases.

China's central bank governor Yi Gang said last month he expected consumer inflation pressures to be mild this year, and that producer price increases will slow down.