U.S. inflation shows signs of having peaked as rate eases to 8.5% in July

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U.S. food prices have increased by 10.9 per cent in the past year. (George Frey/Bloomberg - image credit)
U.S. food prices have increased by 10.9 per cent in the past year. (George Frey/Bloomberg - image credit)

The torrid increase in the cost of living showed signs of finally easing last month, with the U.S. inflation rate cooling to 8.5 per cent.

The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics reported Wednesday that the annual inflation rate eased from a 40-year high of 9.1 per cent in June to 8.5 in July.

Economists had been expected the rate to ease off, but the 8.5 per cent figure was softer than the 8.7 per cent they were expecting.

"The July CPI report might be the first clear indication that consumers are pushing back against high inflation in response to tighter monetary policy," Sal Guatieri, an economist with BMO Markets, wrote in a note to investors. "It's a sign that inflation is close to peaking, though the climb down the mountain will be slow due to rising wages and rents."

Inflation eases slightly in the U.S.

Gasoline prices have eased significantly, which was a major contributor to the slowdown.

Guatieri also pointed to price reductions in airfare, hotels and car rentals.

"With many travellers now exhausting earlier pent-up demand, fewer people are willing to face hassles at the airport or pay the well-above pre-pandemic cost of flying, rooming at a hotel or renting a car."

Food prices, meanwhile, continued to rise at a faster pace than the overall rate, with costs increasing by 10.9 per cent in the past year.

Statistics Canada is expected to report its inflation numbers on Aug. 16.