Keith Wade (Schroeders) | Headline CPI inflation rose to 4.2% year-on-year in April the highest level since September 2008. Meanwhile the core measure, which strips out food and energy prices, rose to 3%, a level last seen in 2006. It is unlikely that the inflation figures will spook the Federal Reserve, although they will mean an upward revision to its forecasts. More importantly, when combined with strong growth in GDP, it will have to start to think about slowing its asset purchases.
Benjamin Cole | Fed Chair Jerome Powell has stated the Fed’s 2% target is symmetric, which may be code words for “inflation a little above 2% is tolerable.” The US central bank may find fighting inflation resembles heart surgery with a chainsaw.
Just a couple of years ago, deflation was a concern for US economists. And, although it’s true that this threat has almost disappeared, rises in prices have shown themselves to be surprisingly elusive.
“If we analyse the data from the last 25 years, there is very little inflation. Underlying inflation in the US has never really fallen below 1% which means that the secular dynamism in the labour market is reducing inflation, via technology and globalisation,” explains Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JP Morgan.
After US inflation beat estimates in January, it’s likely the market will end up putting even more emphasis on the possibility of seeing inflation rates higher-than-expected months ago, or even stagflation. And, unfortunately, this will continue to spark potential over-reactions which would give way to strong, quick movements.
The minutes released by the FED and the ECB last week shared concern about how to inform about their monetary stance. They fear unsettling the markets should investors wrongly interpret the messages conveyed to them. When you lack a clear policy perspective, the best thing you can do is to manage communication in a fairly tight way.
The minutes of the Fed’s late July meeting released yesterday reflect ongoing concern about muted inflation data, as well as the fact there seems to be some discrepancy amongst FOMC members over when would be the right time to begin the normalisation of the central bank’s balance sheet.
The summer lull may continue to dampen stock market activity during the month of August, but there are two key events on the investor agenda this week. German GDP figures for Q2 and the minutes of the Fed’s late July meeting.
Not really. The Fed hid it and forgot where it put it! They has raised rates three more times since. Inflation hasn´t gone up, as the neofisherians would have us believe, but there´s been no recession either.
Benjamin Cole via Historinhas | Motor vehicle sales are booming in the United States, up 10% in the last year, and double since the Great Recession. Thanks to blogger Kevin Erdmann of Idiosyncratic Whisk, we have a better understanding of inflation in the U.S. and the role that ubiquitous local property zoning plays in suffocating supply, and thus boosting price.