U.S. Inflation Unchanged in April

U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in April, but recorded their largest year-on-year drop for more than 50 years, official data showed.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in April before seasonal adjustment. This index has fallen 0.7 percent over the last 12 months, due primarily to a 25.2 percent drop in energy prices.  The year-over-year declines in March and April are the first since 1955.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI-U was unchanged in April after declining 0.1 percent in March.  The energy index declined for the second straight month, falling 2.4 percent after declining 3.0 percent in March.  The indexes for motor fuel, fuel oil, natural gas, and electricity all declined in April.  The food index declined as well, falling 0.2 percent in April after a 0.1 percent decrease in March.  The index for food away from home increased, but the food at home index fell 0.6 percent with none of the six major grocery store food groups posting an increase. Over the past year, the food index has risen 3.3 percent while the energy index has declined 25.2 percent.
Offsetting the declines in the food and energy indexes was a 0.3 percent increase in the index for all items less food and energy.  Over 4 percent of the increase was due to a second consecutive large increase in the tobacco index.  The index rose 9.3 percent in April as an increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes went into effect.  A larger increase in the index for medical care, an increase in the index for new vehicles, and an upturn in the lodging away from home index also contributed to the April increase.  The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.9 percent over the past year.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
5/15/2009 9:08:16 AM