Fed’s preferred index shows inflation easing again

Associated Press/Manuel Balce Ceneta
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell adjusts his glasses during a conversation with leaders from organizations that include nonprofits, small businesses, manufacturing, supply chain management, the hospitality industry, and the housing and education sectors at the Federal Reserve building, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge of inflation eased again last month, potentially bolstering hopes that central banks will slow down interest rate hikes. 

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index rose 0.1 percent in November and 5.5 percent over the last year, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data released Friday. That’s down from the prior month’s 6 percent annual increase. 

Excluding volatile food and energy, prices rose 0.2 percent month to month and just 4.7 percent annually, roughly in line with analyst predictions.

The Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates seven times this year in an effort to slow the U.S. economy and reduce demand for products and services, thus bringing down prices. But economists warn that those moves could usher in a recession.  

Earlier this month, the Federal Open Market Committee hiked interest rates by 0.5 percentage points, the smallest increase since June, as inflation showed initial signs of slowing down.

Still, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has indicated that it will not let up in its fight against inflation — even if it leads to massive job losses — over fears that prices will refuse to come down. 

“We have covered a lot of ground, and the full effects of our rapid tightening so far are yet to be felt,” Powell said at a recent press conference. “Even so, we have more work to do.”

Tags guage index inflation Jerome Powell PCE

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