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CUNA Senior Economist Dawit Kebede issued the following statement in response to the Labor Department’s February Consumer Price Index Report:
“The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 6% over the last 12 months in February, down from 6.4% the previous month. Core prices, excluding food and energy items, increased 5.5%. This is the smallest increase since December 2021. The monthly price increased 0.4% and housing, a lagging indicator in the CPI, contributed to 70% of the increase. Inflation is slowing down, and we may see more reduction in the next few months as the CPI starts showing the reduction in housing rents.
“Markets were expecting a 50-basis point increase in Federal Funds rate last week after strong employment report and inflation still higher than the Federal Reserve's target. This view changed over the weekend after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
“The fast and large increase in rates contributed to the collapse of these banks. This failure of financial institutions will cause the Federal Reserve to be more cautious about unforeseen events that could cause instability. Moreover, the rates in place are already showing the intended consequences of slowing down investment and consumption.”