MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Consumer Price Index rises 0.1 percent in March and 5.0 percent year-on-year
The CPI for All Consumers rose 0.1% in March, down sharply from 0.4% in February and 0.5% in January. It rose 5.0% year-on-year, the smallest increase since May 2021. However, the ‘core’ index minus food and energy costs rose 0.4% in March, down from 0.5% in February but matching the monthly increases in December and January. The core index rose 5.6% year-on-year, suggesting that inflation related to supply chain snafus is mostly over and has infiltrated other parts of the economy, especially services.
Producer Price Index falls 0.5 percent in March, up 2.7 percent year-on-year
The Producer Price Index for final demand declined 0.5 percent in March, after being unchanged in February and increasing 0.4 percent in January. The index for final demand advanced 2.7 percent for the 12 months ended in March. Two-thirds of the March decline in the index for final demand can be attributed to a 1.0-percent decrease in prices for final demand goods. The index for final demand services moved down 0.3 percent. Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services edged up 0.1 percent in March after rising 0.2 percent in February. For the 12 months ended in March, the index for final
demand less foods, energy, and trade services increased 3.6 percent.
Purchase loan applications rise 8 percent from previous week, down 31 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications increased 5.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising 8 percent but down 31 percent year-on-year. The Refinance Index increased 0.1 percent from the previous week and was 57 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.0 percent of total applications. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances decreased to 6.30 percent from 6.40 percent.