16 Dec 2009

CNBC Doesn’t Anger Me on Inflation Report

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They didn’t say, “Inflation is back! Ru-u-u-un!” but they at least didn’t say anything aggravating like, “Inflation pressures remain modest.” Here’s CNBC terse discussion:

U.S. Consumer Prices Rose 0.4% in Nov., Deficit Widens

U.S. consumer prices rose in line with expectations in November on a surge in energy costs, but prices were flat, excluding food and energy, a government report showed Wednesday.

The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index leaped 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis after an unrevised 0.3 percent gain in October. A 4.1 percent burst in the energy index led the rise, as gasoline, electricity, fuel oil, and natural gas prices rose.

Prices rose 1.8 percent over the last 12 months, as expected, the first year-over-year gain since February. Core prices rose 1.7 percent over the 12-month period.

Separately, the U.S. current account deficit widened as expected in the third quarter to $108 billion, largely driven by a big trade shortfall, a Commerce Department report showed on Wednesday…

For the record, non-seasonally adjusted CPI is up 1.8% over the last 12 months (from Nov. 2008 – Nov. 2009), and from Dec. 08 – Nov. 09 it’s up 2.9%, which works out to an annualized rate of about 3.2% if I’ve done my math correctly. (I just woke up.)

So don’t let anybody tell you we’re stuck in a liquidity trap with its related “paradox of thrift” and now the “paradox of toil” (in which output drops when the government cuts labor taxes).

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