NEW YORK (Reuters) - An increasingly important gauge of U.S. inflation tumbled last month to its lowest level since the Federal Reserve Bank of New York began the survey in mid-2013, in what could be taken as another warning bell for the U.S. central bank.
The New York Fed’s survey of consumers found expectations for inflation one and three years in the future fell as Americans were more cognizant of lower gasoline prices and costs of medical care and college.
One-year median expectations have fallen three months running and hit 2.42 percent in January, from 2.54 percent in December. The three-year ahead prediction was 2.45 percent last month, well down from 2.78 percent the previous month.
Respondents on the younger and older ends of the range, and those with lower education and income, drove the decline, said the New York Fed, whose survey has been increasingly cited by economists and central bankers themselves as a read on when inflation will return to a 2-percent target.
The Fed raised rates in December and aims to keep tightening. But a market selloff in January and worries over a global slowdown has some Fed officials worried that inflation, at 1.4 percent now according to their preferred measure, will not rebound as soon as desired.
The internet-based survey taps a rotating panel of 1,200 household heads, and is done by an outside organization.
Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Andrea Ricci