US CPI Report Preview – 12th March


What to Expect from the US CPI Report

Scheduled for release on March 12th, 2024, at 12:30 GMT, the US Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for February is poised to attract significant attention from economists, policymakers, and investors alike. This report offers crucial insights into inflationary trends, guiding monetary policy decisions and shaping market expectations.

Expectations for the upcoming CPI report suggest a continuation of inflationary pressures, driven in part by rising gasoline prices. Economists anticipate a 0.4% increase in the overall CPI on a monthly basis, up from January’s 0.3% growth, while the annual growth rate is projected to hold steady at 3.1%. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is also expected to show a modest uptick, with a 0.3% monthly increase and a 3.7% annual rise, although these are lower than last month’s 0.4% and 3.9% . Analysts suggest that while overall inflation may accelerate, the underlying trend is not strengthening significantly.


The recent persistence of price and wage pressures has led to speculation about the trajectory of inflation and the timing of potential rate cuts by the Federal Reserve. Despite expectations for a robust CPI reading in February, economists and Fed officials still anticipate further progress in addressing inflation concerns, with rate cuts remaining on the table for 2024. Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s recent testimony before Congress reiterated the central bank’s cautious stance on inflation, emphasising the need for sustained progress towards the 2% target. Powell indicated that rate cuts could commence this year if disinflation persists, although the Fed is not yet fully confident in the inflation outlook.

Market sentiment regarding the timing of rate cuts has shifted, with investors pricing in between three and four cuts for the year, according to the CME FedWatch tool. There is approximately a 60% chance of the first cut occurring in June, reflecting growing expectations for monetary policy accommodation in response to inflationary pressures.

Understanding the US CPI Report

Released monthly by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the US Consumer Price Index (CPI) report is a crucial economic indicator that measures the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a basket of goods and services. Composing a wide range of items, including food, housing, transportation, and healthcare, the CPI reflects the inflationary pressures experienced by American households.


The CPI report serves as a vital tool for policymakers, economists, businesses, and investors to gauge the current and future state of the economy. By tracking changes in consumer prices, the CPI helps assess inflationary trends, purchasing power, and overall economic health.

For policymakers at the Federal Reserve, the CPI report plays a central role in monetary policy decisions. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) closely monitors inflation data to determine the appropriate course of interest rates. If inflation exceeds the Fed’s target, it may raise interest rates to cool down economic activity and prevent overheating. Conversely, if inflation remains below target, the Fed may lower interest rates to stimulate spending and investment.

Businesses rely on the CPI report to adjust pricing strategies and make informed decisions about production, investment, and hiring. Rising inflation can erode profit margins and reduce consumer purchasing power, while falling inflation may signal weak demand and economic slowdown.

Investors closely watch the CPI report for its potential impact on financial markets. Significant deviations from expectations can lead to volatility in stock prices, bond yields, and currency exchange rates. A higher-than-expected CPI reading may prompt fears of aggressive monetary tightening by the Fed, leading to sell-offs in equities and bonds. Conversely, a lower-than-expected CPI figure could boost investor confidence and support risk assets.

Editor in chief

Steve Miley is the Market Chartist and has 32 years of financial market experience and as a seasoned expert now has many responsibilities. He is the founder, Director and Primary Analyst at The Mar... Continued

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