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April CPI: Consumer prices rose 0.3%, slower than analysts expected

Monica Treece, a butcher at the Richmond Heights Schnucks Market, arranges Thanksgiving turkeys in the freezer section on the first day of sales in Richmond Heights, Missouri on November 15, 2022. The Labor Department said consumer prices rose at a slower rate than expected in April. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Monica Treece, a butcher at the Richmond Heights Schnucks Market, arranges Thanksgiving turkeys in the freezer section on the first day of sales in Richmond Heights, Missouri on November 15, 2022. The Labor Department said consumer prices rose at a slower rate than expected in April. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

May 15 (UPI) -- Consumer prices rose less than expected in April, according to Labor Department data released on Wednesday.

The consumer price index increased to a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in April compared to the month before, keeping the year-to-year CPI increase at 3.4%,

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The monthly CPI statistic was lower than Dow Jones economists projected, showing that prices has shoppers a little relief at the cash register. The 0.3% CPI increase was the lowest since January when the index rose 0.3% as well.

"It's going make it clear to markets that ... inflation is now normalizing, the economy is in good shape, and rates are so restrictive the Fed actually needs to cut rates," Tom Lee, of Fundstrat Global Advisor, told CNBC. "That's actually quite good for stocks. If it's a pause, it's good for stocks. If it's a cut, I think it's even better."

The increase in the core CPI index, which removes more volatile food and energy prices, was 0.3% in April and 3.6% over this time last year. Gasoline rose sharply in April, with prices in rising 2.8%, beating the year-to-year increase average of 1.2%. Transportation service prices increased 0.9%.

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Prices for used cars and trucks, a hot ticket during the COVID-19 pandemic, continued their price drop, falling 1.4% in April and 6.9%from this time in 2023. Consumer prices for new vehicles also slipped 0.4% in April and year-to-year.

The Labor Department released its producer price index on Tuesday, saying that wholesale prices in April increased to a 2024 high, a seasonally adjusted 0.5% and 2.2% from 2023.

President Joe Biden said in a statement that fighting inflation and lowering costs remain his "top economic priority."

"Prices are still too high -- so my agenda will give families breathing room by building two million new homes to lower housing costs, taking on Big Pharma to lower prescription drug prices, calling on grocery chains making record profits to lower grocery prices for consumers," he said.

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