US core inflation is likely to remain muted due to housing market
About a third of the US Consumer Price Index reflects housing costs, and both rents and home prices are moderating
Citibank analysts note that the national rate of rent inflation is hovering just above 2%, in a modest decline from 2015 and 2016 levels. At the same time, the rate of housing price increases has fallen from nearly 14% in 2014 to about 5% in the first quarter of 2016, according to the Case-Shiller home price index.
These are modest changes, but they help keep the rate of personal consumption expenditure inflation well below the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. They also lend support to the view of Federal Reserve doves like Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, who argued last week that the risks to inflation were on the downside. Inflation expectations as measured by the Treasury bond market have been falling, and that has contributed to the dollar’s softness during the past several weeks.