The 0.1% December CPI headline gain
The 0.1% December CPI headline gain was lean thanks to a 1.2% energy price drop and a downward-rounding from 0.150%, though the firm 0.3% (0.277%) core price rise beat assumptions to leave a net upside surprise, thanks to sturdy gains of 0.6% for new vehicles, 1.4% for used vehicles, and 0.3% for owners' equivalent rent. Analysts saw 0.2% gains for food and medical care service prices, but declines of 0.5% for apparel prices and 0.6% for tobacco. Analysts expect a 0.3% January headline CPI rise with a 0.1% core increase and a 3% gasoline price bounce. The headline y/y increase should fall to 1.8% from 2.1% in December and 2.2% in November, while the "core" y/y rise falls to 1.6% from 1.8% in December and 1.7% in November. Analysts expect a 0.1% December headline PCE chain price rise with a 0.2% core price gain. For ongoing disaster-distortions, analysts saw a 0.8% price rise for lodging away from home after a 1.3% drop in November, but hurricane-led gains of 1.6% in October, 1.5% in September and 4.4% in August. Analysts saw a 0.9% rise for hotel costs after a 1.6% November drop, but gains of 1.8% in October, 1.7% in September and 5.1% in August.