At-home food inflation dips in July, but consumers still feeling the pinch

US consumer prices jump in July pushed by autos

US consumer prices were driven up in July 2020 by new and used car pricesMore

A rise in Serbia's consumer price index (CPI) by 0.2% month-on-month in July was mostly supported by higher prices of oil products, cigarettes and tour packages, the central bank said on Wednesday. Prices for full service meals increased 0.4%. The CPI increased by the same margin in June. "PPI has been in the negative in 12 out of 13 months to July".

Inflation within those core elements, however, remained muted at 1.6% compared to July 2019.

"Overall inflation remains tepid and is likely to decelerate in the months to come, but for the wrong reason: a slowdown in the recovery", echoed Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, a major accounting firm.

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The gain in consumer prices reflects the rebound in demand for goods and services from the depths of the pandemic-induced lockdowns earlier this year, suggesting inflation is closer than thought to returning to the pre-crisis pace.

The Federal Reserve has adopted an extraordinarily easy monetary policy, which has seen the USA central bank slashing interest rates to near zero as well as making large-scale asset purchases and funneling loans to firms among other measures.

"These readings bear watching for further acceleration even though the trend remains subdued against a backdrop of weak demand and excess capacity", Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a note.

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The Fed tracks the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index for its 2% inflation target. The cost of visits to doctors increased 0.7% and prices for hospital services rose 0.2%. Only 9.3 million of 22 million jobs lost between February and April have been recouped. Medical services were up almost 6% from year-ago levels. Grocery costs declined 1.1% after significant increases earlier this year when many Americans were first under stay-home orders nationwide.

In annual terms, the cost of alcoholic beverages and tobacco (up 6.5%), communications (up 5.7%), recreation and culture (up 5.4%), and food and non-alcoholic drinks (up 4.3%) rose most.

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