Inflation Is Still Running Too High

New report is again above expectations, at 3.5%
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2024 7:50 AM CDT
Inflation Is Still Running Too High
A customer checks prices at a grocery store in Wheeling, Ill.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A new and highly anticipated inflation report is out, and the numbers show that inflation remains stubbornly above where the Federal Reserve wants it to be. The March report marks three months in a row of higher-than-expected inflation, which could further jeopardize the Fed's plan to cut rates three times this year.

  • Key numbers: The 12-month inflation rate is now 3.5%, above expectations of 3.4% and well above the Fed's goal of 2%, reports CNBC. The figure is also above the rate of 3.2% logged in February, notes the Washington Post. On a monthly basis, the consumer price index rose 0.4%, above estimates of 0.3%.
  • At the core: Inflation for "core" prices, excluding volatile food and energy, is now at 3.8% over 12 months, and it's up 0.4% for the month, above expectations of 3.7% and 0.3%. As the AP notes, the Fed "closely tracks core prices because they tend to provide a good read of where inflation is headed."
  • Stock market: Dow futures were up about 60 points just before the report's release, and they fell about 400 points when the report came out.

  • Context: Wall Street is always waiting with bated breath for some new economic release, but the stakes were higher than usual with Wednesday's inflation report, explains the Wall Street Journal. The Fed didn't overreact when January and February's numbers came in higher than anticipated, and that only ratcheted up pressure for the March stats. Three months in a row is a different story.
  • Bigger context: Inflation is way down from its peak above 9% in June 2022, notes CNBC, thanks in part to 11 interest rate hikes. But the number hasn't moved much since those hikes stopped. The Fed doesn't just want to see 2%, it wants to see 2% for consecutive months.
(More inflation stories.)

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