Daily News 4/17/2015

April 17, 2015

Friday – April 17

The recent rise in gas prices across the nation sent consumer prices higher in March, signaling a slight uptick in inflation. The rise in February and March, follows three straight months of declining prices, which was due in part to falling gas prices. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.2% last month, which was just below the 0.3% expected. The Core CPI, was a bit hotter than expected at 0.2% versus the 0.1% expected, while the 12-month Core rose 1.8%.

The warmer weather in April has helped to improve consumer attitudes towards the economy and current financial situations, after a lull in sentiment early in the year. The Consumer Sentiment Index hit its second highest level in more than eight years rising to 95.9 this month, up from the 93 recorded in March. However, the report did reveal that consumers have a dimmer view regarding income prospects.

Food prices declined in March, which gave Americans some relief at the checkout counter at the grocery store. The Labor Department reported that the cost of food at home fell 0.5% in March, the biggest drop in almost six years. The decline was led by a decrease in fruits and vegetables, which helped to offset the rise in gas prices. But hold your applause, for prices are up 2.3% since last year, a big gain, despite the tame inflation environment. With the continued drought in California and with the peak growing season is almost upon us, prices could start to edge higher in the months to come.