Headline Inflation

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DEFINITION of 'Headline Inflation'

The raw inflation figure as reported through the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that is released monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI calculates the cost to purchase a fixed basket of goods as a way of determining how much inflation is occurring in the broad economy. The CPI uses a base year and indexes current year prices based on the base year's values.

The headline figure is not adjusted for seasonality or for the often volatile elements of food and energy prices, which are removed in the Core CPI. Headline inflation will usually be quoted on an annualized basis, meaning that a monthly headline figure of 4\% inflation equates to a monthly rate that, if repeated for 12 months, would create 4\% inflation for the year. Comparisons of headline inflation are typically made on a year-over-year basis.

Also known as "top-line inflation".

BREAKING DOWN 'Headline Inflation'

Inflation is a great threat to long-term investors because it erodes the value of future dollars. Inflation can stifle economic growth and cause a rise in prevailing interest rates.

While headline inflation tends to get the most attention in the media, core inflation is often considered the more valuable metric to follow. Core inflation removes the CPI components that can exhibit large amounts of volatility month to month, which can cause unwanted distortion to the headline figure. Both headline and core results are followed closely by investors, and are also used by economists and central banking figures to set economic growth forecasts and monetary policy.

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