The Independent Market Observer

Economic Release Snapshot: Inflation Cools in March

Posted by Sam Millette

This entry was posted on Apr 17, 2023 8:57:27 AM

and tagged In the News

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Monday UpdateEach week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead. 

Reports for the Week of April 10

Consumer Price Index, March (Wednesday)

  • Prior monthly CPI/core CPI growth: +0.4%/+0.5%
  • Expected monthly CPI/core CPI growth: +0.2%/+0.4%
  • Actual monthly CPI/core CPI growth: +0.1%/+0.4%
  • Prior year-over-year CPI/core CPI growth: +6.0%/+5.5%
  • Expected year-over-year CPI/core CPI growth: +5.1%/+5.6%
  • Actual year-over-year CPI/core CPI growth: +5.0%/+5.6%

Headline consumer prices continued to show signs of slowing growth in March, with the 0.1 percent increase marking the smallest monthly increase in headline prices since last July. Despite the slowdown in inflationary pressure during the month, inflation remains high on a year-over-year basis.

FOMC meeting minutes, March

The minutes from the March Fed meeting showed that central bankers remained concerned about high inflation levels during the month, which spurred the 25 bp hike at the meeting despite concerns about the health of the banking system.

Producer Price Index, March (Thursday)

  • Prior monthly PPI/core PPI growth: +0%/+0.2%
  • Expected monthly PPI/core PPI growth: +0%/+0.2%
  • Actual monthly PPI/core PPI growth: –0.5%/–0.1%
  • Prior year-over-year PPI/core PPI growth: +4.9%/+4.8%
  • Expected year-over-year PPI/core PPI growth: +3.0%/+3.4%
  • Actual year-over-year PPI/core PPI growth: +2.7%/+3.4%

Both headline and core producer prices fell in March, which was caused, in part, by cheaper energy prices during the month. This marked the largest monthly decline in producer prices since the start of the pandemic.

Retail sales, March (Friday)

  • Expected/prior month retail sales monthly change: –0.5%/–0.2%
  • Actual retail sales monthly change: –1.0%
  • Expected/prior month core retail sales monthly change: –0.6%/+0%
  • Actual core retail sales monthly change: –0.3%

Retail sales fell more than expected in March, partially driven by lower gas prices and auto sales. This marks two consecutive months of slowing sales and indicates that consumer spending is starting to cool.

Industrial production, March (Friday)

  • Expected/prior month production change: +0.2%/+0.2%
  • Actual production change: +0.4%

Industrial production increased more than expected in March, largely due to a surge in utilities output. This now marks two consecutive months of increased production.

University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey, April, preliminary (Friday)

  • Expected/prior month consumer sentiment index: 62.1/62
  • Actual consumer sentiment index: 63.5

Consumer sentiment improved more than expected to start April. This was an encouraging sign that the high-profile collapses of a handful of U.S. banks in March did not have a lasting effect on sentiment.

Upcoming Reports for the Week of April 17

National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, April (Monday)

Home builder confidence is set to increase slightly in April after rising more than expected in March.

Housing starts and building permits, March (Tuesday)

Housing starts and building permits are both set to drop in March following larger-than-expected increases in February. The pace of new home construction is expected to remain well below the pandemic-era highs we saw last spring.

Existing home sales, March (Thursday)

Sales of existing homes are set to drop in March, as high prices, low supply, and high mortgage rates all serve as headwinds toward faster sales growth.

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