Consumer Price Index Rises 0.4% in April

The consumer price index rose at a quicker monthly pace in April, pushed up by soaring costs for used cars and trucks — the latest sign of lingering inflation pressures across the economy.

Why it matters: The CPI rose 0.4% in April, faster than the 0.1% rise the previous month. The measure that excludes energy and food prices continued to rise at a fairly quick pace.

By the numbers: On a yearly basis, inflation continued to move down.

  • In the 12 months through April, CPI increased 4.9% — ticking down from 5% in March, the government said on Wednesday.
  • Core CPI, which excludes energy and food prices that can be volatile month-to-month, rose 0.4% in April, matching the prior month’s pace.
  • In the year ending in April, core CPI increased 5.5%, compared to 5.6% in March.

Details: The monthly increase in the report reflects a jump in used cars and trucks prices, which had been apparent in private-sector data months earlier — but slow to feed through to official government data.

  • Used vehicles rose 4.4% in April, after several months of consecutive price declines, according to the CPI report. Economists see the price spike as temporary.

In a relief for consumers who have been plagued by sharp increases in food costs, prices for groceries declined outright for the second straight month — dropping by 0.2%. That follows a 0.3% drop in March.

  • Yes, but: Grocery prices are still up 7.1% in the 12 months through April.
  • Costs for food away from home, including at restaurants, rose 0.4%, slightly slower than the 0.6% pace the prior month.