economy Markets

Used Car Prices Just Surged The Most Since 1969

Considering the quantum of news and headlines on offer Tuesday, it’s somewhat of a relief that September’s inflation data stateside printed bang in line with estimates.

That alleviates the need for excessive parsing and editorializing.

After two consecutive months of hotter-than-expected prints, both core and headline CPI matched consensus for September. The headline gauge rose 0.2% MoM and 1.4% YoY.

Core printed 0.2% MoM as well. At 1.7%, the YoY read on core was unchanged from August and in line with expectations.

But before everyone writes this off as a total waste of time, do note that used car prices rose 6.7% last month. That is the biggest monthly gain in decades, and comes on the heels of a similarly anomalous rise in the prior month.

“The index for used cars and trucks continued to rise sharply and accounted for most of the monthly increase in the seasonally adjusted all items index,” the BLS said Tuesday, noting that the “food index was unchanged, with an increase in the food away from home index offsetting a decline in the food at home index.”

I suppose you can cite “pent up demand” for the ongoing surge in used vehicle prices, but that’s difficult to disentangle from pandemic effects.

Work-from-home arrangements, de-urbanization, and the avoidance of public transportation are doubtlessly contributing to used car demand.

Maybe it’s time to invest in parking garages.


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