WASHINGTON-Overall U.S. consumer prices continued to slip lower in May after a sharp drop in April, while the cost of groceries continued to go up with people staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted considerable disruption in the typical data collection process due to COVID-19. That was because goods deliveries were temporarily suspended amid the virus outbreak, and because of soaring prices of pork from African swine fever.
"We believe falling CPI inflation and continued PPI deflation will provide Beijing with more space to implement policy stimulus to offset the impact of Covid-19 on the economy", economists at Nomura International (Hong Kong) Ltd. wrote in a report. "This should continue to drag down headline consumer price inflation". Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, was steady at 1.1% year-over-year.
United States consumer prices fell for a third straight month in May as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on demand. The core CPI increased 1.4% year-on-year in April. Compared with a year ago, grocery prices are up 4 percent. That amounted to 2.4 percent in May on an annual basis, compared to 3.3 percent in April.
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In the first five months, the average PPI fell by 1.7 percent over the same period a year ago. May producer prices fell 0.4% from the previous month, easing from April's 1.3% fall, the bureau said.
This is the first time it has dropped below the 3-percent mark in nine months. But the march of the virus around the world, hammering the global economy, has depressed demand across many of China's key trading partners, forcing companies to charge less for their products. "The larger-than-expected drop in inflation could also alleviate some recent fears in the bond markets", Lu said.
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