Friday, November 30, 2018

Spending Up While Inflation Slows

U.S. consumer spending increased by the most in seven months in October, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, jumped 0.6 percent last month. The biggest drivers were prescription medication and utilities.

When adjusted for inflation, consumer spending advanced just 0.4 percent. But the inflation-adjusted number is also the biggest gain for that figure in seven months.

Indeed, there was a slowdown in price gains last month. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, inched up 0.1 percent after increasing 0.2 percent in September. That lowered the year-on-year increase in the core PCE price index to 1.8 percent, the lowest reading since February.

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