Core PCE Inflation Slows as Expected in October
The BEA's Personal Income and Outlays report revealed inflation slowed as expected in October. Core PCE, the Fed's favored measure of inflation, was up 0.2% from September and slowed to 3.5% year-over-year, the lowest reading in over two years but still above the Fed's 2% target rate. The latest headline PCE price index was flat month-over-month (MoM) and fell to 3.0% year-over-year (YoY).
PCE Price Index
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) measures and tracks changes for all domestic personal consumption. Core PCE measures the changes in personal consumption less food and energy, making it less volatile than the headline PCE. The PCE Price Index is calculated using PCE data and is a key way to measure changes in purchasing trends and inflation.
The adjacent thumbnail gives us a close-up of the trend in YoY core PCE since January 2012. The first string of red data points highlights the 12 consecutive months when core PCE hovered in a narrow range around its interim low. The second string highlights the lower range from late 2014 through 2015. Core PCE shifted higher in 2016 with a decline in 2017, 2019, and 2020, with a major jump in 2022.
The first chart below shows the monthly year-over-year change in the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index since 2000, with a callout showing the last 12 months. Also included is an overlay of the core PCE (less food and energy) price index, which is Fed's preferred indicator for gauging inflation. The 2% benchmark is the Fed's conventional target for core inflation. Headline PCE slowed down from 3.4% in September to 3.0% in October, its lowest reading since March 2021. Core PCE slowed down from 3.7% in September to 3.5% in October, its lowest reading since April 2021. Both readings were consistent with their respective forecasts.
For a long-term perspective, here are the same two metrics spanning five decades.
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