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A key gauge of US consumer prices advanced to a 40-year high in September, underscoring persistent, elevated inflation that’s squeezing households and pushing the Federal Reserve toward another steep interest-rate hike.
The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy, increased 6.6% from a year ago, the highest level since 1982, Labor Department data showed Thursday. From a month earlier, the core CPI climbed 0.6% for a second month.
The overall CPI increased 0.4% last month, and was up 8.2% from a year earlier. The median forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists had called for a 0.4% monthly rise in the core and a 0.2% gain in the overall measure.
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Shelter, food and medical care indexes were the largest of “many contributors,” the report said. Gasoline declined.
The report stresses how high inflation has broadened across the economy, eroding Americans’ paychecks and forcing many to rely on savings and credit cards to keep up. While consumer price growth is expected to moderate in the coming months, it’ll be a slow trek down to the Fed’s goal.
Policy makers have responded with the most aggressive tightening campaign since the 1980s, but so far, the labor market and consumer demand have remained resilient. The unemployment rate returned to a five-decade low in September, and businesses continue to raise pay to attract and retain the employees needed to meet household demand.
On the heels of a solid jobs report last week, the CPI report likely cements an additional 75-basis point interest rate hike at the Fed’s November policy meeting. Traders solidified bets for the jumbo-sized hike next month. Stock futures fell sharply and Treasury yields rose following the report.
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