by Howard Schneider
washingtonDecember 8 – Prices for goods purchased online in the United States fell at an annual rate of nearly 2% in November, the sharpest decline since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. covid-19 and signal that an important aspect of headline inflation is continuing to slow.
The month-over-month decline in the Adobe Digital Price Index, a measure of online purchases designed to reflect a basket of goods included in the government’s Consumer Price Index, was 3.2%.
The decline was also broad-based with prices of 15 categories of goods declining on a monthly basis out of 18. Groceries was a notable exception, but growth slowed from the previous months.
Aggressive discounting fueled declines during the start of the holiday shopping season, but also reduced prices for “non-promotional” items such as personal care products.
US shoppers spent a total of $35.27 billion during Cyber Week, the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. This is a modest 4% increase over the previous year, at a time when US inflation is above 7%.
The Adobe Index, which uses methods developed by incoming Chicago Federal Reserve Chairman Austin Golsby, hinted at the next inflationary crisis when it began rising in mid-2020. By then, the prices of online services had been pressuring headline inflation for years. ,
The latest decline may confirm that Federal Reserve officials expect a new trend toward deflation as commodity prices stop rising or falling.
The Fed will receive new inflation data next week when the November consumer price index is released on December 13, the same day its policy meeting begins.