US Inflation Quickens to 40-Year High, Pressuring Fed and Biden

US inflation hit a 40-year high in May, a sign that pricing pressures are entrenching. That will certainly drive the Fed to continue an aggressive string of interest-rate hikes

The consumer price index rose 8.6% year-over-year. The widely followed inflation gauge jumped 1 percent from a month earlier. 

The core CPI, which excludes food and energy, climbed 0.6% from the prior month and 6% from a year ago, again above estimates.

Record gasoline prices, persistent food and shelter expenses strain Americans' cost of living, suggesting the Fed must slow the economy more.

In May, prices for essentials rose double digits. Gasoline prices rose about 49% from a year ago. 

If the next CPI report follows the same monthly pace, year-over-year inflation could rise again. That will maintain the Fed on a path of 50-basis-point raises through July, despite a slowing economy

Grocery prices jumped 11.9% annually, the largest since 1979, and electricity 12% since August 2006. The rise in primary dwelling rent was the largest since 1987.

That's bad news for Vice President Joe Biden. While the labour market is strong, decades-high inflation is hurting confidence and exceeding wage gains.

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