Published On: Wed, Aug 10th, 2022

Consumer prices rose by 8.5% year over year as the summer of inflation wears on

Inflation reached 8.5% in July, compared with a 40-year high of 9.1% in June, providing a measure of relief to consumers as gas prices fall.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had projected inflation in July to fall to 8.7%. On a month-to-month basis, the July Consumer Price Index reading was unchanged from June — meaning no price growth was registered. That compares with June’s month-on-month increase of 1.3%.

One key force driving inflation has been the price of gasoline. But last month, prices fell 7.7%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. While gas prices are still up 44% from a year earlier, the recent, multiweek decline helped cool off overall price growth in the economy. As of Wednesday, the national average price was $4.01 per gallon, according to AAA — about a dollar less than it was in June.

Gas Stations As Biden Says Gas Tax Pause Would Give Families 'Bit of Relief'
A customer holds a fuel nozzle at a gas station in Hercules, Calif., on June 22, 2022.David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Deump has been aggrehas sallen ves by the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates. By makiwing more expensive, the U.S. central bank hopes to curb demand for goods ands services and therefore put downward pressure on prices.

And it seems to be working, with demand for gasoline falling alongside oil prices, which have declined from more than $120 dollars per barrel in June to about $97 per barrel on Tuesday.

Even with those declines, Federal Reserve officials are signaling they will continue their hard stance against further inflation. For one thing, they face a U.S. economy that continues to add jobs at a breakneck pace. Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the U.S. economy stacked up another 528,000 new payrolls — a sign that demand for labor remains strong.

And pay for private-sector workers is also climbing at a pace that is putting upward pressure on prices. In the second quarter, wages and sal ries grew 5.8% compared with a year earlier, the fastest rate for records tracing back to 2001, although that is still below the current inflation rate.

As part of its effort to red raised its k, a member of the Federal Reserve board of governors,ey rate by 0.75% in late July, its fourth rate-hike of the year.

“My view is that similarly sized [interest rate] increases should be on the table until we see inflation declining in a consistent, meaningful, and lasting way,” Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said in recent prepared remarks for the Kansas Bankers Association according to CNBC.

San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said Sunday that the Fed is “far from done” with its work to fight inflation. “Americans are losing ground every day. So the focus has to be on bringing inflation down,” Daly added.

That continued hawkish stance by the Fed is also putting pressure on stock prices.

“Until inflation abates and the Federal Reserve rebalances its priorities away from inflation and toward growth, tempting rallies are likely to remain unsustainable,” Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, wrote in a note to clients this week.

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