PCE Rose, Personal Incomes Rose, Pending Home Sales Up

March 28, 2016

Monday – March 28

Inflation pressures remained tepid in February as measured by the Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE). The Core PCE rose just 0.1% month-over-month in February, below the 0.2% expected and down from the 0.3% recorded in January. The Core PCE, which excludes food and energy, measures prices paid by consumers for goods and services to reveal underlying inflation trends. The Core PCE year-over-year, which is the Fed’s favored inflation gauge, rose 1.7%, which is below the 2% targeted by the Federal Reserve.

The Commerce Department also reported today that Personal Incomes rose 0.2% in February, reflecting a 0.1% decline in wages and salaries. Personal Spending rose slightly by 0.1% as consumers cut back on purchases in February. Consumer spending makes up about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Due to spending easing behind an uptick in income growth, the savings rate rose to its highest level in more than three years.

Over in the housing sector, February Pending Homes Sales surged 3.5% from January to its highest level in seven months, after a 3% decline in January. A spokesperson from the National Association of REALTORS┬« , which reports the data, said, “After some volatility this winter, the latest data is encouraging in that a decent number of buyers signed contracts last month, lured by mortgage rates dipping to their lowest levels in nearly a year1 and a modest, seasonal uptick in inventory.”