CPI report released today: August inflation likely rose due to energy prices; live updates

Rising energy costs likely increased the rate of inflation in August, economists are predicting ahead of Wednesday's monthly government report on prices.

As of last week, a gallon of regular unleaded gas cost $3.82 on average, roughly $1.50 more than it cost to fill up before the pandemic, and prices are continuing to rise.

Still, any acceleration in the inflation rate probably won't be high enough to prompt the Federal Reserve to fight rising prices with another interest-rate hike later this month - though there may be another bump before the end of the year.    

The Labor Department’s consumer price index is forecast to show inflation rose 3.6% to 3.7% last month compared with a year earlier and above the 3.2% rate in July. But while the anticipated uptick may not spur the Fed to pump up its key rate when it meets next week - part of a flurry of hikes that have led to the highest federal funds rate in 22 years - inflation above the Fed’s 2% target could lead to another increase in the next few months, economists say.    

“The Federal Reserve is very likely to leave rates unchanged at their meeting later this month, but inflation readings are still highly relevant to what the Fed does – or does not – do in the months ahead,’’ Greg McBride, chief financial analyst with Bankrate, said in an investors note. “A disappointing CPI report could begin to frame expectations for another rate hike in the fourth quarter.’’ 

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declares state of emergency over inflation concerns

Inflation remains a heated political and pocketbook issue for politicians and voters. In response to high gas prices,  Georgia's governor on Tuesday declared a state of emergency, temporarily suspending the state’s excise tax on motor and locomotive fuel to help struggling residents. 

"From runaway federal spending to policies that hamstring domestic energy production, all Bidenomics has done is take more money out of the pockets of the middle class,” Kemp said in a statement. “While high prices continue to hit family budgets, hardworking Georgians deserve real relief and that's why I signed an executive order today to deliver it directly to them at the pump.''

When does CPI come out?

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) will be released by the Department of Labor at 8:30 AM ET Wednesday.

What is CPI?

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) looks at the average change in prices for particular products and services during a period of time, according to the Bureau of Labor Services. 

What is the current inflation rate?

Last month, the government reported that prices rose 3.2% in July compared with a year earlier, according to the Labor Department’s consumer price index, a broad gauge of the costs of goods and services. While that bump was primarily due to a technicality in the calculation of annual price gains, it still ended a year-long stretch that saw the rate of consumer price hikes steadily decline.  

What is August CPI forecast? 

The August inflation rate is expected to be between 3.6% and 3.7%, up from the 3.2% rate in July. 

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Gas is pumped at a Costco Warehouse in Cranberry, Pa.

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