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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the consumer price index rose 1.2% in March and follows a 0.8% increase in February. The index’s year-over-year rate is up a seasonally adjusted 8.5%, the fastest annual pace since December 1981. Increases were broad-based with the indexes for gasoline (+18.3%), shelter (+0.5%), and food (+1.0%) primary contributors. The gasoline index accounted for over half of the monthly CPI increase. Core CPI, which excludes the more volatile food and energy costs increased a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in March, a decline from February’s 0.5% reading. The shelter index was a primary contributor to the Core CPI monthly increase. Shelter is up 5.0% year over year, the biggest annual increase since May 1991. Also contributing were increases in airline fares (+10.7%), household furnishings and operations (+1.0%), medical care (+0.5%), and motor vehicle insurance (+07%). The index for used cars and trucks dropped (-3.8%). The annual rate of core CPI inflation is 6.4% and is the largest 12-month change since the period ending August 1982.
The US Energy Information Administration reported that US commercial crude oil stockpiles increased by 9.4M barrels to 421.8M barrels (13% above the five-year average) for the week ending April 8th. The increase is due in part to the releases from strategic reserves. Crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.5M barrels per day, a decrease of 424K barrels per day as compared to the previous week’s average. Gasoline inventories decreased by 3.6M barrels (3% below the five-year average), and distillate inventories decreased by 2.9M barrels (17% below the five-year average). Refineries operated at 90.0% of their operable capacity, as gasoline production increased averaging 9.5M barrels per day. Crude oil imports came in at 6.0M barrels per day, a decrease of 305K barrels per day as compared to the previous week. Crude oil imports averaged about 6.3M barrels per day over the last four weeks, 4.9% more than the same period last year. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 7.4M barrels last week.
The Commerce Department reported advance U.S. retail and food services sales increased 0.5% to $665.7B in March, this follows an upwardly revised 0.8% increase for February and a 3.8% jump in January. Data for February was revised up from 0.3%. Retail sales are running 6.9% higher than a year ago. Total sales for January 2022 through March 2022 were up 12.9% year over year. The biggest contributing factor was gas station spending which saw an 8.9% increase. Excluding gasoline, retail sales fell 0.3% in March. General merchandise stores (+5.4%), sporting goods (+3.3%), electronics stores (+3.3%), food (+1.0%), and home furnishings (+0.7%) all saw increases, while spending for motor vehicles (-1.9%) and nonstore retailers (-6.4%) saw declines. When sales for gas stations and autos are excluded, retail sales increased 0.2%. Core retail sales, a measurement that excludes spending on autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services fell 0.1% and follows a downwardly revised 0.9% drop in February.
Tuesday April 19 – Building Permits (March)
Wednesday April 20 – Existing Home Sales (March)
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