Online shoppers experienced falling prices throughout August, which is a positive sign that inflation is slowing down. According to CNN Business, “E-commerce prices tumbled by 3.2% year over year in August,” the greatest annual reduction in over three years.
If accurate, this would be a good indicator that inflation is decreasing across the nation, hopefully returning to the more accepted “normal” levels from only a few years ago.
Online prices for many items, such as sporting goods, appliances, electronics, and computers, saw significant annual decreases, with drops ranging from 7% to 14.2%, as detailed in the report. While grocery prices increased by 5% in August, there has been a consistent slowdown in these gains for 11 consecutive months. Notably, there was a 0.2% reduction in prices from July to August, the first monthly decline witnessed in over two years.
Unfortunately, prices in other categories are still seeing a distinct rise. For example, gas prices have continued to soar up to a national average of $3.84 per gallon.
CNBC shared that in August, the producer price index saw a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.7%, surpassing the projected 0.4% and marking the most significant rise since June 2022. When disregarding food and energy, the core PPI experienced 0.2% growth, which matched expectations.
On a different note, retail sales in August rose by an unexpected 0.6%, vastly outperforming the anticipated 0.1% growth, according to CNBC. Another source, MishTalk, shared that year-over-year sales were down for nine of the last 10 months until the period of June through August, which saw total sales increase by around 2.2% compared to the same period last year.
CNN also mentioned additional uncertainty in the market, noting that “the United Auto Workers union may strike on Friday, the federal government is heading toward another potential shutdown in October, geopolitical tensions with China remain heightened and oil prices could stay elevated through December. There’s also the looming question about whether the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates again.”
Reuters added to the discussion, stating that “a slew of U.S. economic data on Thursday showed stronger-than-expected numbers that stoked worries about sticky inflation and reinforced the view that the Federal Reserve is likely to keep interest rates higher for longer.”
At this point, it’s all a mixed bag and still uncertain for the time being. But the sooner things stabilize, the better off consumers and the retail industry as a whole will be.