Today’s update on consumer prices for November provides no cover for analysts expecting higher inflation to burst out any day now. Consumer inflation rose a mere 0.1% last month on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reports. That’s down from 0.2% in October. Core inflation—price changes less the volatile food and energy sectors—is also quiescent, inching higher last month by only 0.1%. If there’s an imminent threat of inflation trouble, it’s not obvious in today’s CPI report.
Pricing trends look equally tame on an annual basis. For the 12 months through November, headline CPI advanced by 1.1%. Core inflation is even lower, rising by just 0.7% over the past year. By the looks of the trend this year, the path of least resistance is down, as the chart below suggests.
“Inflation is a non-threat right now, there’s a lot of slack in the economy,” Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc., tells Bloomberg. “Inflation will remain very subdued and tepid over the next several months.”