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September 26, 2023

US Inflation Posts Biggest Monthly Increase in 2023 as CPI Rises 0.6%

The US inflation rate posted its biggest monthly increase in 2023, as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.6 percent in January. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the all-items CPI increased to just over 234.5, up from the 233.4 reported a month earlier. The increase was driven by higher prices for motor vehicle insurance, medical care services, and apparel. Excluding food and energy, the core CPI increased 0.2 percent over the month. This marked the slowest rate of increase since last July, when the index rose by 0.3 percent. The January increase puts the annual growth rate of the all-items index at 2.6 percent, the fastest pace in almost four years. Over the past 12 months, prices have only fallen on one occasion, in June 2023. The jump in inflation comes at an awkward time for the Federal Reserve, which is currently winding down its bond-buying program and may be considering further policy action to ensure price stability. The Fed is monitoring closely the inflation rate in order to identify signs of emerging price pressures, and to determine the outlook for economic growth. Inflationary pressures have been growing in the US economy, as steady job growth and increased wages have driven consumer spending. Growth in the labor market has pushed up wages, and in turn, prices for goods and services. This has contributed to an increase in inflationary expectations, but the momentary surge of 0.6 percent does not necessarily indicate a sustained rise in prices. Instead, the increase may simply be a result of temporary shocks such as weather-related supply disruptions or strong seasonal trends. Overall, the latest figures suggest that the US economy is stable and on track for continued growth in the months to come.