The January 2010 CPI-U report is out.
The CPI-U increased 0.2 percent in January, the same increase as in December. The index for all items less food and energy fell 0.1 percent in January after rising 0.1 percent in December.
The increase was due to gas, but see the PPI report for a dramatic increase in gas, coming to a station near you soon!
The rest of the index is deflationary due to housing costs. Core CPI dropped -0.1%. Core CPI is minus food and energy. So, owning a home dropped 0.1%, overall shelter dropped 0.5% (hey, congratulations to all those buying a tent to live in!), but all of you making rent, you got no break here. The drop was all hotels, travel. Note there were category adjustments to CPI-U in February, Second home owners, moved from shelter away from home to owner's rent equivalents. So, don't get your panties all in a bunch with the change in shelter costs as a result.
The food index increased the largest since September 2008, milk went up but considering the pain of dairy farmers and tortured cows, I think all hope that increase is funneled down to the farmers and those who treat their cows right.
Our favorite, medical costs also rose 0.5%. Considering how expensive this is, has anyone been presented with prices in prescription drugs to office visits before they sign on to buy?
What's the difference between PPI and CPI? CPI includes imports, taxes, sales taxes. PPI implies revenues to the producer. Normally one cannot infer a timing or correlation of prices, but in this case I think we can, because it was crude goods, commodities before being turned into finished products, like gasoline that increased dramatically this month in PPI.
Also, the CPI reported is the consumer price index for urban dwellers, there is actually another one, CPI-W which is the scaling index for social security and other social services payments. CPI-W, seasonally adjusted was up 0.3% from last month. There too it was energy costs, with household energy up 7.1%.