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31 July 2018 Employment Costs are Accelerating, but Slowly... For Now (Publication Centre)

The most important number, potentially, in today's wave of economic reports is the Employment Costs Index for second quarter.

13 February 2018 Unit Labor Costs are Key to Inflation Outlook (Publication Centre)

Jim Bullard, the St. Louis Fed president, said last week that Phillips Curve effects in the U.S. are "weak", and that nominal wage growth is not a good predictor of future inflation.

12 February 2018 German Labour Costs Are Set to Soar, Does it Matter for the ECB? (Publication Centre)

Apart from a slew of economic data--see here and here--two important things happened in Germany last week.

16 February 2018 Healthcare Costs Drove up January's Core PPI (Publication Centre)

Having panicked at the January hourly earnings numbers, markets now seem to have decided that higher inflation might not be such a bad thing after all, and stocks rallied after both Wednesday's core CPI overshoot and yesterday's repeat performance in the PPI.

21 February 2017 Wages Don't Necessarily Lead Inflation, but Unit Labor Costs do (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen said something which sounded odd, at first, in her Q&A at the Senate Banking Committee last Tuesday. It is "not clear" she argued, that the rate of growth of wages has a "direct impact on inflation".

9 August 2017 Productivity Growth Might be Turning up, Labor Costs Subdued (Publication Centre)

We are a bit more optimistic than the consensus on the question of second quarter productivity growth, but the data are so unreliable and erratic that the difference between our 1.2% forecast and the 0.7% consensus estimate doesn't mean much.

30 July 2018 Do Rising Tokyo CPI Housing Costs Matter for the BoJ's July Meeting? (Publication Centre)

Tokyo inflation surprised us on Friday, rising to 0.9% in July, from 0.6% in June.

18 Mar. 2016 Medical Costs are Accelerating, but Goods Will Lift Core PCE Too (Publication Centre)

In the excitement over the FOMC meeting--all things are relative--we ran out of space to cover some of this week's other data, notably the PPI, industrial production and housing starts. They are worth a recap, given that only the Michigan sentiment report will be released today.

31 May 2017 A Consumer Rebound is Underway, but Watch out for Healthcare Costs (Publication Centre)

In the wake of April's 0.2% increase in real consumers' spending, and the upward revisions to the first quarter numbers, we now think that second quarter spending is on course to rise at an annualized rate of about 3.5%.

24 May 2017 Soft Inflation Data Puts Pressure on BCB, Despite Brazil's Political Mess (Publication Centre)

Inflation pressures in Brazil are still easing rapidly. The mid-May unadjusted IPCA- 15 index rose just 0.2% month-to-month, much less than the 0.6% historical average for the month. Base effects pushed the year-over-year rate down to 3.8% from 4.1% in April. Food prices, healthcare and personal costs were the main drivers of the modest month-to-month increase.

23 Nov. 2015 How to Scare Yourself Over the U.S. Inflation Outlook (Publication Centre)

Should you be feeling in the mood to panic over inflation risks--or more positively, benefit from the markets' underpricing of inflation risks--consider the following scenario. First, assume that the uptick in wages reported in October really does mark the start of the long-awaited sustained acceleration promised by a 5% unemployment rate and employers' difficulty in finding people to hire. Second, assume that the rental property market remains extremely tight. Third, assume that the abrupt upturn in medical costs in the October CPI is a harbinger o f things to come. And finally, assume that the Fed hawks are right in their view that the initial increase in interest rates will--to quote the September FOMC minutes--"...spur, rather than restrain economic activity". Under these conditions, what happens to inflation?

20 December 2016 Fiscal Easing Likely Would Boost Productivity, but not by Enough (Publication Centre)

The two key planks of the argument that a substantial easing of fiscal policy won't be inflationary are that labor participation will be dragged higher, limiting the decline in the unemployment rate, while productivity growth will rebound, so unit labor costs will remain under control.

27 April 2017 How Much Further Can Mortgage Rates Fall? (Publication Centre)

Growth in households' disposable incomes has been supported in recent years by falling debt servicing costs. The proportion of households' incomes absorbed by interest payments fell to a record low of 4.5% in Q4 last year, down from 4.7% a year ago and a peak of 10% in 2008.

16 February 2017 Core inflation isn't rocketing, but the upside risks are real (Publication Centre)

In yesterday's Monitor, we argued that if the upside risk in an array of core CPI components crystallised in January, the month-to-month gain would print at 0.3%, for the first time since August. That's exactly what happened, though we couldn't justify it as our base forecast. A combination of rebounding airline fares, apparel prices, new vehicle prices, and education costs conspired to generate a 0.31% gain, lifting the year-over-year rate back to the 2.3% cycle high, first reached in February last year.

12 December 2016 German wage growth is accelerating (Publication Centre)

Data on Friday showed that German wage growth is firming. Nominal labour costs rose 2.5% year-overyear in Q3, accelerating from a revised 1.9% increase in Q2. The main driver was a strong rebound in gross earnings growth, which rebounded to 2.4% year-over-year from an oddly weak 1.2% in Q2.

14 September 2018 Core Inflation won't Keep Falling (Publication Centre)

We were right about the below-consensus inflation numbers for June, but wrong about the explanation. We thought the core would be constrained by a drop in used car prices, while apparel and medical costs would rebound after their July declines.

10 August 2018 Near-Term Core Inflation Risk is Modest the Fed Fears the Future (Publication Centre)

The continued modest rate of increase in unit labor costs makes it hard to worry much about the near-term outlook for core inflation.

7 December 2017 China Regulates in an Attempt to Avoid a Korea-style Credit Spiral (Publication Centre)

China last week banned unlicensed micro-lending and put a ceiling on borrowing costs for the sector, in an effort to curtail the spiralling of consumer credit.

Guardian - Record rise in import costs dents growth in UK manufacturing (Media Centre)

Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Manufacturing

22 December 2017 Strong November Consumption Sets Course for 3½% Q4 Gain? (Publication Centre)

This is the final U.S. Economic Monitor of 2017, a year which has seen the economy strengthen, the labor market tighten substantially, and the Fed raise rates three times, with zero deleterious effect on growth.

24 February 2017 Is Sterling's Depreciation a Blessing or a Curse for Profits? (Publication Centre)

This week's GDP figures showed that firms invested only sparingly in 2016, but their financial fortunes have been bolstered by a recovery in profits. The gross operating surplus of all firms rose by 4.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the biggest increase for 11 quarters. This pushed the share of GDP absorbed by profits up to 21.3%, just above its 60-year average of 21.2%.

25 May 2018 Brazil's Inflation Remains Low, Mexico's GDP Brings Positive News (Publication Centre)

In a relatively light week in terms of economic indicators in Brazil, the inflation numbers and the potential effect of the recent BRL sell-off garnered all the attention.

22 August 2018 Will the French Economy Re-Assert Itself in the Second Half (Publication Centre)

Economic growth in France has been the key downside surprise in the Eurozone this year.

21 March 2018 Lower CPI Inflation in February Should Give the MPC Doubts (Publication Centre)

February's consumer price figures give the MPC reason to doubt the case for raising interest rates again as soon as May.

21 November. 2016 The Inflation Threat from Wages is Rising (Publication Centre)

Last week, the Atlanta Fed updated its median hourly earnings series with new October data, showing wage growth accelerating to an eight-year high of 3.9%. That's a full percentage point higher than the increase in this measure of wages in the year to October 2015, and it follows a spring and summer during which wage growth appeared to be topping-out at just under 3½%.

24 April 2018 Japan's PMI Lends Strength to the Nascent Re ation Story (Publication Centre)

Japan's manufacturing PMI rose to 53.3 in April, from 53.1 in March. The index weakened earlier this year, but remained at levels unjustified by the hard data.

22 February 2018 Labour Market Wobble Should Instil Some Caution on the MPC (Publication Centre)

The stand-out news yesterday was the increase in the headline, three-month average, unemployment rate to 4.4% in December, from 4.3% in September.

23 June 2017 Fed Officials Cite "Full Employment" but Worry About Recent CPI Data (Publication Centre)

A couple of Fed speakers this week have described the economy as being at "full employment". Looking at the headline unemployment rate, it's easy to see why they would reach that conclusion.

23 April 2018 Inflation Started Q2 Below the BCB's Target, but the Trend will Rise in Q3 (Publication Centre)

Inflation in Brazil remained subdued at the start of the second quarter, strengthening the odds for an additional interest rate cut next month, and opening the door for further stimulus in June.

23 May 2017 Has the Outlook for Business Investment Brightened? (Publication Centre)

The recent deceleration in households' real spending means that either business investment or net exports will have to pickup if the economy is to avoid a severe slowdown this year.

23 April 2018 German Producer Price Inflation is Turning Up, Slowly (Publication Centre)

Friday's economic data suggest that the downtrend in German PPI inflation is reversing.

22 September 2017 Angela Merkel will stay as Chancellor, but building a coalition will be tricky (Publication Centre)

Germans head to the polls on Sunday to elect representatives for the national parliament. The media has tried to keep investors on alert for a surprise, but polls indicate clearly that Angela Merkel will continue as Chancellor.

24 April 2017 It Looks Like Mr. Macron Against Mrs. Le Pen in the Second Round (Publication Centre)

The initial "official estimate" of the French presidential election--released 20.00 CET--suggest that the runoff will be between the centre-right Emmanuel Macron and Front National's Marine Le Pen. This is consistent with opinion polls. The average of five early estimates also suggests that Mr. Macron won the vote with 23.1% of the vote against Mrs. Le Pen's 22.5%.

23 February 2018 Earnings Set to Beat Consensus this Year (Publication Centre)

The knee-jerk reaction of the stock market to the unexpectedly high hourly earnings growth number for January was predicated on two connected ideas.

21 June 2017 Japan will Grow this Year, Despite its Structural Hurdles (Publication Centre)

Abenomics has had its successes in changing the structure of Japan. Notably, large numbers of women have gone back to work and corporations have started paying dividends. These are by no means small victories. But overall, the macroeconomy is essentially the same as when Shinzo Abe became prime minister.

19 July 2017 CPI Inflation Still is set to Exceed 3% this Year, Despite June's Pullback (Publication Centre)

The fall in CPI inflation to 2.6% in June, from 2.9% in May, greatly undershot expectations for an unchanged rate and it has made a vote by the MPC to keep interest rates at 0.25% in August a near certainty.

19 July 2018 EZ June Core Inflation Hit by Weak Services it will Rebound in July (Publication Centre)

Inflation pressures in the Eurozone have been building in recent months, but we think the headline is close to a peak for the year.

19 June 2017 Don't Rule Out a September Fed Hike, Watch the Labor Market Data (Publication Centre)

In the wake of last week's rate increase, the fed funds future puts the chance of another rise in September at just 16%. After hikes in December, March and June, we think the Fed is trying to tell us something about their intention to keep going; this is not 2015 or 2016, when the Fed happily accepted any excuse not to do what it had said it would do.

18 September 2017 Will Markets Care About a Falling Trade Surplus in the Eurozone? (Publication Centre)

The Eurozone's external surplus weakened at the start of Q3.

18 October. 2016 Is Portugal on the Brink of a Debt Downgrade and a New Bailout? (Publication Centre)

The Portuguese economy has faltered recently. In the year to Q2, real GDP rose only 0.8%, down from a 1.5% increase in the preceding year. Slowing growth in investment has been the key driver, but consumers' spending has weakened too.

17 Nov. 2015 Core Inflation Creeping Stealthily Higher - Soon, Markets Will Notice (Publication Centre)

The upturn in core CPI inflation this year has passed by almost unnoticed in the markets and media. In the year to September, the core CPI rose 1.9%, up from a low of 1.6% in January. But that's still a very low rate, and with core PCE inflation unchanged at only 1.3% over the same period, it's easy to see why investors have remained relaxed. In our view, though, things are about to change, because a combination of very adverse base effects and gradually increasing momentum in the monthly numbers, is set to lift both core inflation measures substantially over the next few months.

17 October. 2016 Rising Inflation in 2017 Will Reflect More Than Just Import Prices (Publication Centre)

The MPC's forecast in August, which predicted that inflation would overshoot its 2% target over the next two years only modestly--giving it the green light to ease policy--assumed that inflation in sectors insensitive to swings in import prices would remain low. We doubt, however, that domestically generated inflation will remain benign.

17 September 2018 The EZ Output Gap Has Closed, But will Inflation Follow? (Publication Centre)

Last week's comments by Mr. Draghi--see here-- indicate that the ECB is increasingly confident that core inflation will continue to move slowly towards the target of "below, but close to 2%", despite elevated external risks, and marginally tighter monetary policy.

2 August 2018 The Door for a Bank of Korea Rate Hike in August Closes Further (Publication Centre)

The past two days have seen a slew of data that should keep the hawks in the Bank of Korea at bay during the Board's meeting at the end of this month.

2 Feb. 2015 Slower Q4 Growth is a Distraction - Labor Data Matter Much More (Publication Centre)

Don't fret over the slowdown in growth in the fourth quarter. The quarterly GDP data are volatile even after several rounds of revisions, and the advance numbers are full of assumptions about missing trade, inventory and capex data, which often turn out to be wrong.

26 Feb. 2016 Core PCE Inflation Set to Jump - Fed Target is Within Reach in 2016 (Publication Centre)

All eyes will be on the core PCE deflator data today, in the wake of the upside surprise in the January core CPI, reported last week. The numbers do not move perfectly together each month, but a 0.2% increase in the core deflator is a solid bet, with an outside chance of an outsized 0.3% jump.

21 Mar. 2016 The Fed Either Hopes for a Miracle or Wants Inflation to Overshoot (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen made it clear in last week's press conference that she is not convinced the increase in core inflation will persist: "I want to warn that there may be some transitory factors that are influencing [the rise in core inflation]... I see some of that is having to do with unusually high inflation readings in categories that tend to be quite volatile without very much significance for inflation over time.

21 Mar. Upside Inflation Surprise in February Unlikely to be the Last (Publication Centre)

February's consumer price figures, released tomorrow, are likely to show that CPI inflation has picked up again, perhaps to 0.5%--the highest rate since December 2014--from 0.3% in January. This will give the Monetary Policy Committee more confidence in its judgement that CPI inflation will be back at the 2% target in two years' time.

20 March 2017 February's Above-Target Inflation Rate won't be the Last (Publication Centre)

February's consumer price report, released tomorrow, likely will show that CPI inflation has breached the MPC's 2% target for the first time since November 2013. Indeed, we think the headline rate jumped to 2.2%, from 1.8% in January, exceeding the 2.1% rate expected by the MPC and the consensus.

20 Jan. 2016 Wage Growth Will Push the "Data Driven" Governor to Hike this Year (Publication Centre)

Bank Governor Mark Carney reiterated in a speech yesterday that he wants to see sustained momentum in GDP growth, domestic cost pressures firm and core inflation rise further towards 2%, before raising interest rates. We doubt he will have long to wait on the last two points, given the tightness of the labour market.

2 January 2018 BoJ: Chinese Profit Story Deteriorates Amid Surprisingly Robust PMIs (Publication Centre)

China's official PMIs paint a picture of robust momentum going into 2018 but we find this difficult to reconcile with the other data.

2 Nov. 2015 Inflation Report Likely to Jolt Markets Back to Their Senses (Publication Centre)

It's probably just a coincidence that "Super Thursday" coincides with Guy Fawkes night, when Britons launch fireworks to commemorate an attempt to blow up parliament in 1605. Nonetheless, the Monetary Policy Committee looks likely to light the touch-paper for a big rise in market interest rates and sterling, by signalling that it intends to raise Bank Rate in the Spring, about six months earlier than investors currently expect.

21 March 2018 China's Fiscal Reforms: Economies of Scale won't Reduce the Deficit yet (Publication Centre)

Premier Li Keqiang rounded out the National People's Congress with his press conference yesterday.

29 January 2018 Japanese CPI inflation is Half Energy and Half Food, BoJ in a Bind (Publication Centre)

Japan's CPI inflation jumped to 1.0% in December from 0.6% in November, driven by food prices.

31 January 2017 Will Faster Wage Growth Finally Trigger An Acceleration in the ECI? (Publication Centre)

The headline employment cost index has been remarkably dull recently, with three straight 0.6% quarterly increases. The consensus forecast for today's report, for the three months to December, is for the same again.

31 October 2017 Consumption Set for a Sluggish Q4, Capex Will Take up the Slack (Publication Centre)

The September consumption data were a bit better than median expectations, with real spending rebounding by 0.6%, led by an 15.1% leap in the new vehicle component.

4 December 2017 GDP Growth Will Rise in Brazil Next Year, but Political Risk is Looming (Publication Centre)

Data released last week confirm that Brazil's recovery has continued over the second half of the year, supported by steady household consumption and rebounding capex.

30 September. 2016 August Spending is Less Worrying than the Scope for Higher In ation (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's relatively good news--we discuss the implications of the August trade data below--will be followed by rather more mixed reports today. We hope to see a partial rebound, at least, in the September Chicago PMI, but we fully expect soft August consumer spending data.

30 November. 2016 ADP Likely to Signal Decent Payroll Growth (Publication Centre)

The November ADP employment report today likely will show private payrolls rose by about 180K. We have no reason to think that the trend in payroll growth has changed much in recent months, though the official data do appear to be biased to the upside in the fourth quarter, probably as a result of seasonal adjustment problems triggered by the crash of 2008. We can't detect any clear seasonal fourth quarter bias in the ADP numbers.

30 Jan. 2015 Downside Risk for Fourth Quarter GDP Growth - Inventories a Risk (Publication Centre)

We are nervous about the first estimate of fourth quarter GDP growth, due today. The consensus forecast is a decent 3.1%, but we are struggling mightily to get anywhere near that.

30 March 2017 How will French Consumers React to Lower Real Wage Growth? (Publication Centre)

Leading indicators for consumers' spending in France are sending conflicting signals. Survey data suggest that households are in a spendthrift mood. Data yesterday showed that the headline consumer sentiment index was unchanged in March at 100, the cycle high.

5 April 2018 China No Longer Idly Waiting for Trade War (Publication Centre)

China hit back against the Trump-administration tariffs yesterday, targeting Mr. Trump's electorate.

5 July 2018 EZ Services Activity is Solid, Despite Slowing a Bit in H1 2018 (Publication Centre)

Headline Eurozone PMI data have declined steadily since the beginning of the year, but the June numbers stopped the rot.

7 February 2018 Global Liquidity has been Damaged Recently, but 2008 this is not (Publication Centre)

In terms of one-day moves, the drop in U.S. equities yesterday and Asian equities in the past two days has been pretty bad.

7 February 2018 Risk Asset Sell-off Likely Won't Derail LatAm's Benign Outlook (Publication Centre)

The sell-off in equity markets and increases in volatility have put EM assets under pressure. EM equities and bonds, however, have been outperforming their U.S. and global market counterparts.

7 September 2017 Jobless Claims will Rocket After Harvey, but Timing is Tricky (Publication Centre)

The jobless claims numbers today likely will mark the end of the calm before the storm effect, even though the data cover the week ended September 1, and Harvey hit on August 26.

7 February 2017 January's Rise in Car Sales is Misleading, it won't be Sustained (Publication Centre)

The 5% year-over-year increase in private new car registrations in January ended a nine-month period of falling sales. January's increase, however, is unlikely to be a bellwether for car sales over the whole year, or for the strength of consumer spending more generally.

6 June 2017 ISM Non-manufacturing Jobs Up Sharply. Summer Payrolls to Surge? (Publication Centre)

The 6.4-point rebound in the May ISM non-manufacturing employment index, to a very high 57.8, supports our view that summer payroll growth will be strong. On the face of it, the survey is consistent with job gains in excess of 300K, as our first chart shows, but that's very unlikely to happen.

5 October 2018 Should Surveys Pointing to Higher Core Goods Inflation be Trusted? (Publication Centre)

The CPI inflation rate for non-energy industrial goods--core goods, for short--has tracked past movements in trade-weighted sterling closely over the last ten years, because virtually all goods in this sector are imported.

5 September 2018 Order Books Point to a Q3 Rebound in Korean Construction Activity (Publication Centre)

Headline GDP growth in Korea was revised down, to a seasonally-adjusted 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, from 0.7% in the preliminary report.

3 May 2018 The Fed Expects Above-Target Inflation Soon, but is Relaxed (Publication Centre)

The Fed pretty clearly wanted to tell markets yesterday that inflation is likely to nudge above the target over the next few months, but that this will not prompt any sort of knee-jerk policy response beyond the continued "gradual" tightening.

8 February 2018 Japanese Wage Cost Pressures are Building, but the Yen is Competitive (Publication Centre)

Japanese firms hand out a significant portion of labour compensation through bonuses, with the largest lump awarded in December.

7 September 2018 Low Inflation Means Policymakers to Stay Steady in Brazil and Colombia (Publication Centre)

Brazil's benchmark inflation index, the IPCA, fell 0.1% month-to-month unadjusted in August, below market expectations.

29 May 2018 Capex Starts the Second Quarter Strongly, Further Gains Ahead? (Publication Centre)

The newly-revised data on capital goods orders, released on Friday, support our view that sustained strength in business capex remains a good bet for this year.

29 November 2017 The Profit Share in GDP is set to Fall Sharply as Wage Growth Picks up (Publication Centre)

It doesn'tt matter if third quarter GDP growth is revised up a couple of tenths in today's third estimate of the data, in line with the consensus forecast.

29 Jan. 2016 Will Inventories and Government Hold Q4 GDP Close to Zero? (Publication Centre)

We expect to learn today that the economy barely grew at all in the fourth quarter. At least, that's what we think the first estimate of growth, due today, will show. This number will then be revised twice over the next couple of months, then again when revisions for the past three years are released in July. Thereafter, the numbers are subject to further annual revisions indefinitely.

28 November 2017 Chinese Profits Headline Overstates Growth. Private Firms Struggling (Publication Centre)

Chinese industrial profits growth officially edged down to 25.1% year-over-year in October, from 27.7% in September. This is still very rapid but we think the official data are overstating the true rate of growth.

26 March 2018 Smoot and Hawley are Still Dead, Trump is not Resurrecting them... Yet (Publication Centre)

Everyone needs to take a deep breath: This is not 1930, and Smoot-Hawley all over again.

27 April 2018 The Likely Q1 GDP Growth Slowdown Probably Didn't Happen (Publication Centre)

The first point to make about today's Q1 GDP growth number is that whatever the BEA publishes, you probably should add 0.9 percentage points.

3 April 2018 GDP Growth in the Eurozone is Slowing, but Not Collapsing (Publication Centre)

The economic data in the Eurozone were mixed while we were away.

17 July 2017 September Rate Hike Odds Have Fallen, but it's not Over Yet (Publication Centre)

After four straight sub-consensus core CPI readings, we think the odds now favor reversion to the prior trend, 0.2%, over the next few months.

9 August 2018 Core PPI Inflation is Still Rising, but Most of the Pressure is Due to Oil (Publication Centre)

Core PPI inflation has risen steadily this year, with month-to-month increases of 0.3% or more in five of the past six months.

8 June 2017 Stepping on the First Rung of the Housing Ladder isn't Getting Easier (Publication Centre)

Many observers hoped that the silver lining of a slowdown in house price growth this year would be that more first-time buyers could step onto the first rung of the housing ladder. Instead, purchasing a first home has become even harder for FTBs with modest deposits.

3 May 2018 China's PMI Export Orders Paint an Overly Gloomy Picture (Publication Centre)

The forward-looking indices of China's Caixin manufacturing PMI for April attracted more attention than the headline, which was a bit of a non-event; it rose trivially 51.1, from 51.0 in March.

9 August. 2016 NFIB Survey Signals Better Non-Oil Business Capex as Soon as Q3 (Publication Centre)

The headline NFIB index of small business activity and sentiment in July likely will be little changed from June--we expect a half-point dip, while the consensus forecast is for a repeat of June's 94.5--but what we really care about is the capex intentions componen

3 August 2017 Will the MPC Call Time on the Term Funding Scheme? (Publication Centre)

We see only a small risk today of the MPC raising interest rates or sending a strong signal that a hike is imminent, for the reasons we set out in our preview of the meeting. The MPC, however, also must decide today whether to wind up the Term Funding Scheme-- TFS--launched a year ago as part of its post-Brexit stimulus measures.

9 May 2018 Chinese Import Growth is Flattered by Price Effects (Publication Centre)

China's trade data looked more normal in April. The trade balance rebounded to a surplus of $28.8B in April, from a deficit of $5.0B in March. Exports also bounced back, rising 12.9% year-over-year in April, after a 2.7% decline in March.

26 Jan. 2015 All Eyes on ECI - Nothing Matters More to the Fed than Wages (Publication Centre)

This week is, potentially, hugely important in determining the Fed's near-term view of the real state of the labor market and its approach to monetary policy over the next few months. The key event is the release of the fourth quarter employment cost index, which could make a material difference to perceptions of the degree of wage pressure.

14 May 2018 Brazil's Domestic Consumption Will Continue to do Well, Despite Threats (Publication Centre)

Data released last week in Brazil reinforced our view of a modest, final, interest rate cut this week, despite the recent strength of the USD and volatility in global markets.

11 August 2017 Core CPI Looks Set to Revert to 0.2% in July, but Nothing is Certain (Publication Centre)

Our base case forecast for today's July core CPI is that the remarkable and unexpected run of weak numbers, shown in our first chart, is set to come to an end, with a reversion to the prior 0.2% trend.

10 May 2018 Core Inflation set to Rise Again on Base Effects, Gas, food lift headline? (Publication Centre)

The headline April CPI, due today, will be boosted slightly by rising gasoline prices.

10 June. 2016 Falling Real Imports Will Lift German Net Trade in Q2 (Publication Centre)

Germany's external balance was virtually stable at the beginning of the second quarter. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus rose marginally to €23.9B in April from a revised €23.7B in March, mainly due to weakness in imports. Demand for goods abroad fell 0.2% month-to-month, which pushed up the surplus despite amid unchanged exports. Imports fell 1.5% year-over-year in April, up slightly from a 2.5% decline in March.

10 June. 2016 Brazil's Copom Waiting For New Chief, and Inflation to Fall Again (Publication Centre)

Brazil's interim government has been trying to put the kibosh on the vicious circle of recession, capital outflows, and political pandering that has dogged the country for so long. In his first few weeks at the helm, despite the political turmoil, Mr. Temer has started to tackle Brazil's fiscal mess, the country's biggest headache.

11 Dec. 2015 Don't be Swayed by Soft Nominal Retail Sales (Publication Centre)

Retail sales ex-autos have undershot consensus forecasts in eight of the 11 reports released so far this year, prompting interest rate doves to argue that consumers have not spent their windfall from falling gas prices. But this ignores the impact of falling prices--for gasoline, electronics, furniture, and clothing--on the sales numbers, which are presented in nominal terms.

11 December 2017 The EU and the U.K. Have a Deal, Now Comes the Difficult Bit (Publication Centre)

The 16-page document--see here--detailing the agreement allowing the EU and the U.K. to move forward in the Brexit negotiations is predictably tedious.

11 September 2017 The German Trade Surplus is Falling, but Real Wages are Rising (Publication Centre)

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus in Germany slipped to €19.6B in July, from €21.2B in June, its lowest since April, and we are confident that it has peaked for this cycle.

11 May 2017 Core PPI Inflation is set to Rise Further, CPI Components to Follow? (Publication Centre)

Today brings the April PPI data, which likely will show core inflation creeping higher, with upward pressure in both good and services. The upside risk in the goods component is clear enough, as our first chart shows.

11 June 2018 German Construction is Pushing Ahead, Manufacturing is Stalling (Publication Centre)

The bad news in German manufacturing keeps coming thick and fast.

10 June. 2015 Tightening Labor market pushing up small firms' pricing plans? (Publication Centre)

The May NFIB survey and the April JOLTS report, both released yesterday, paint a coherent, if not yet definitive, picture of labor market developments which should alarm the Fed. The data suggest that the true labor supply, in the eyes of potential employers, is much smaller than implied by the BLS's measures of broad unemployment.

10 July 2018 Modest Inflation Pressures will Help Central Banks in Q3 and Most of Q4 (Publication Centre)

Inflation in Mexico edged higher in the second half, but we expect both the headline and core rates to continue falling, allowing Banxico to keep interest rates on hold.

1 August 2017 Money Data Show Diverging Household and Corporate Fortunes (Publication Centre)

The latest money and credit data highlight that the financial fortunes of firms and households have begun to differ markedly. Private non- financial corporations--PNFCs--are enjoying strong growth in their broad money holdings. The 1.2% month-to-month increase in PNFC's M4 was the largest rise since August 2016, and it lifted the year- over-year growth rate to 9.3%, from 9.0% in May.

04 Mar. 2016 Brazil's Economy Collapsed in 2015 - No Sign of Quick Recovery (Publication Centre)

The BCB's Copom kept Brazil's Selic rate at 14.25% this week, as expected. The brief accompanying communiqué was very similar to the January statement, saying that after assessing the outlook for growth and inflation, and "the current balance of risks, considering domestic and, mainly, external uncertainties", the Copom decided to keep the Selic rate at a nine-year high, without bias.

04 Feb. 2016 Are Jobless Claims Starting to Rise? If so, Where Will They Stop? (Publication Centre)

The pace of layoffs might be picking up. Our first chart looks pretty convincing, but it's much too soon to know for sure. The claims data from mid-December through late January are subject to serious seasonal adjustment problems, partly because Christmas falls on a different day of the week each year and partly because the exact timing of post-holiday layoffs varies from year-to-year.

03 Mar. 2016 Construction Slowdown is Symptomatic of Wider Malaise (Publication Centre)

The revival in the construction sector is slowing on all fronts as the fiscal squeeze intensifies, business confidence fades and the recovery in housebuilding loses momentum. These headwinds are likely to ensure that construction output only holds steady this year, thereby contributing to the broader economic slowdown.

1 May 2017 Ignore the Weak Q1 GDP Numbers -- they Cannot be Trusted (Publication Centre)

If you apply a seasonal adjustment to a seasonally adjusted series, it shouldn't change. When you apply a seasonal adjustment to the U.S. GDP numbers, they do change. First quarter growth, reported Friday at just 0.7%, goes up to 1.7%, on our estimate.

16 October 2017 Rate Hike Bets Likely Will Fade After September's CPI Data (Publication Centre)

September's consumer price figures likely will surprise to the downside, prompting markets to reassess their view that the MPC will almost certainly raise interest rates next month.

10 Feb. 2016 Downside Production Surprise to Take its Toll on Sterling (Publication Centre)

December's industrial production figures, released today, look set to surprise the consensus to the downside, pushing down the pound and increasing the chances that the preliminary estimate of a 0.5% quarter-on-quarter increase in fourth quarter GDP will be revised down.

10 August. 2016 When Rates are Close to Zero, Behavior Changes (Publication Centre)

Slowly but surely, it is becoming respectable to argue that central bank policy in the developed world is part of the problem of slow growth, not the solution. We have worried for some time that the signal sent by ZIRP--that the economy is in terrible shape--is more than offsetting the cash-flow gains to borrowers.

10 August 2018 China's CPI Inflation is Likely to Slow Despite Tariff Hikes (Publication Centre)

China's CPI inflation rose to 2.1% in July, from 1.9% in June.

12 Jan. 2016 Drop in November Production to Set the Tone for Q4 GDP (Publication Centre)

November's industrial production figures, released today, look set to surprise the consensus to the downside, underscoring our view that the economic recovery is continuing to lose momentum. Moreover, with sterling remaining uncompetitive, despite depreciating over recent weeks, and lower oil prices making extracting oil from the North Sea unprofitable, the industrial sector likely will impede the economic recovery further in 2016.

1 November 2017 Will the Fed Upgrade its View on Growth Today? (Publication Centre)

The Fed will do nothing today, but the FOMC's statement will re-affirm the intention to continue its "gradual" tightening.

14 June. Higher Inflation to Highlight Broad Recovery in Cost Pressures (Publication Centre)

We expect today's consumer prices figures to show that CPI inflation picked up to 0.5% in May, from 0.3% in April, exceeding the 0.4% rate anticipated by both the consensus and the MPC, in last month's Inflation Report. We expect the increase to be driven by a jump in the core rate to 1.4%, from 1.2% in April.

14 February 2018 The Rise in Services Inflation Shouldn't Make the MPC Flinch (Publication Centre)

CPI inflation held steady at 3.0% in January, above the consensus by one tenth and thus pushing up the market-implied probability of a May rate hike to 65%, from 62% earlier this week.

14 August 2017 July's Soft-Looking Core CPI was Different from Previous Weak Data (Publication Centre)

July's fifth straight undershoot to consensus in the core CPI was very different the previous four. Only one component--lodging away from home--prevented the first 0.2% month-to-month print since February.

13 September 2018 Base Effects have Lifted Core CPI Inflation (Publication Centre)

Now that the run of unfavorable base effects in the core CPI--triggered by five straight soft numbers last year--is over, we're expecting little change in the year- over-year rate through the remainder of this year.

15 May 2017 Core Inflation Surprises Again, but the Trend Likely has not Turned (Publication Centre)

The failure of the core CPI to mean-revert in April, after the unexpected March drop, does not mean that the Fed can relax.

15 May 2018 Debunking Popular Theories on 2018 Yen Flows (Publication Centre)

At the end of last year, we highlighted a tail risk that strain in currency basis swaps markets signalled looming yen appreciation.

12 July 2017 Wage Growth Likely will Remain too "Anaemic" for the Governor this Year (Publication Centre)

Mark Carney emphasised in his Mansion House speech last month that he wants wage growth to "begin to firm" from recent "anaemic" rates before voting to raise interest rates.

16 June 2017 What Do the Internal MPC Members Need to See to Raise Rates? (Publication Centre)

Sterling received a shot in the arm yesterday following the release of the minutes of the MPC's meeting, which revealed that three members voted to raise interest rates to 0.50%, from 0.25% currently. Markets and economists--including ourselves--had expected another 7-1 split, but Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders switched sides and joined Kristin Forbes in seeking higher rates.

16 December 2016 Core Inflation has Levelled-Off, but Only Temporarily, Headline to Soar (Publication Centre)

A casual glance at our first chart, which shows the headline and core inflation rates, might lead you to think that our fears for next year are overdone. Core inflation rose rapidly from a low of 1.6% in January 2015 to 2.3% in February this year, but since then it has bounced around a range from 2.1% to 2.3%.

13 November 2017 Rising R-Star and Higher Inflation in 2018 Spell Trouble for Markets (Publication Centre)

As a general rule, faster productivity growth is always good news.

15 February 2017 Upward Inflation Trend Still Strong, Despite January's Modest Rise (Publication Centre)

January's CPI inflation of 1.8%, up from 1.6% in December, was one-tenth lower than anticipated by the consensus, the Bank of England and ourselves. The undershoot, however, was entirely due to a pull-back in clothing inflation which is unlikely to be sustained. Price pressures across the rest of the economy have continued to intensify, suggesting that CPI inflation still is on course greatly to exceed the 2% target later this year.

12 May 2017 Core CPI Inflation to Mean-Revert After the Shocking March Drop (Publication Centre)

The April CPI report today will be watched even more closely than usual, after the surprise 0.12% month-to-month fall in the March core index. The biggest single driver of the dip was a record 7.0% plunge in cellphone service plan prices, reflecting Verizon's decision to offer an unlimited data option.

12 March 2018 Weak Production Data Signal Soft January in Germany and France (Publication Centre)

Friday's industrial production headlines in the Eurozone were weak, but the details tell a more nuanced story.

12 June 2017 Can Core PCE Inflation Overtake Core CPI Inflation? (Publication Centre)

For the past six years, the PCE measure of core inflation has undershot the CPI version. The average spread between the two year-over-year rates since January 2011 has been 0.3 percentage points, and as far as we can tell most observers expect it to be little changed for the foreseeable future.

12 July. 2016 Do Pricing Distortions Mean We Should Ignore Weak Help Wanted? (Publication Centre)

Judging from our inbox, economy bulls are pinning a great deal of hope on the idea that the collapse in the Help Wanted Online index is misleading, because the index is subject to distortions caused by shifts in pricing behavior in the online job advertising business. These distortions were analyzed in a recent Fed paper--click here to read on the Fed's website-- which makes a convincing case that at least some of the decline in the HWOL over the past half-year represents a change in recruiters' behavior rather than slowing in labor demand.

13 June 2018 Is Japan's Consumer Price Index Fit for Purpose? Will the BoJ Change it? (Publication Centre)

For more than two years, the BoJ has fretted, in the outlook for economic activity and prices, that "there are items for which prices are not particularly responsive to the output gap."

12 July 2018 The Latest Proposed Tariffs Would Significantly Boost Core Inflation (Publication Centre)

The announcement, late Tuesday, that the administration plans to impose 10% tariffs on some $200B-worth of imports from China raises the prospect of a substantial hit to the CPI.

13 July. 2016 Will Higher Prices for Imports Change Inflation Perceptions? (Publication Centre)

In recent years we have argued consistently that investors and the commentariat overstate the importance of the dollar as a driver of U.S. inflation. Only about 15% of the core CPI is meaningfully affected by shifts in the value of the dollar, because the index is dominated by domestic non-tradable services.

13 Apr. Higher Inflation Reflects More Than Just an Easter Boost (Publication Centre)

CPI inflation picked up to 0.5% in March, from 0.3% in February. The jump was entirely attributable to core inflation, which leapt to 1.5%--its highest rate since October 2014--from 1.2%. With core inflation on track to rise further over the next year, we continue to think that markets will be caught out by interest rate rises later this year.

12 September 2017 Chinese PPI Overshoots, Inflation has been Sticky but Stable (Publication Centre)

Chinese PPI inflation surprised analysts with a sharp rebound to 6.3% in August, from 5.5% in July, above the consensus, 5.7%.

31 August. 2016 Cheaper Borrowing Costs Won't Reignite Firms' Investment Appetite (Publication Centre)

July's money and credit figures provided more evidence that firms have become reluctant to invest following the Brexit vote. Lending by U.K. banks to private non-financial companies--PNFCs--rose by just 0.2% month-to-month in July, below the average 0.5% increase of the previous six months.

14 Jan. 2015 - Small Firms Recovery Accelerates, but Labor Costs are Rising (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's data were second-tier in the eyes of the markets, but not, perhaps in the eyes of the Fed. The continued surge in job openings, which reached a 14-year high in December, means that the Beveridge Curve--which links the number of job openings to the unemployment rate--shows no signs at all of returning to normal.

14 Mar. 2016 Peru Hold Rates, But Tightening Cycle Hasn't Ended Just Yet (Publication Centre)

Peru's central bank, the BCRP, kept borrowing costs at 3.25% last week, surprising the consensus forecast for a 25bp increase. This was an unexpected move because inflation risks have not abated much since the previous meeting, when policymakers lifted rates for the third straight month.

14 Apr. 2016 Core CPI Inflation is Trending Higher, but Expect a March Pause (Publication Centre)

Since January 2015, Core CPI inflation has risen to 2.3% from 1.6%, propelled by a combination of accelerating rents, a substantial rebound in the rate of increase of healthcare costs, and a modest-- though unexpected--upturn in core goods prices. It's always risky, though, simply to extrapolate recent trends and assume you now have a clear guide to the future.

16 August. 2016 BanRep Will End its Tightening Cycle - Inflation is Set to Fall (Publication Centre)

The account of BanRep's July meeting revealed a significant tug-of-war between the doves and hawks. The majority argued strongly that Colombia's central bank should hike the main interest rate again, by 25bp. Others judged that the benefits of further tightening did not outweigh the costs.

17 Apr. 2015 Core Inflation not yet slowing after energy price collapse (Publication Centre)

The plunge in gas prices since their peak last summer likely will exert modest downward pressure on core inflation by the end of this year, via reduced costs of production and distribution, but it probably is too soon to start looking for these effects now.

2 November. 2016 Producer Price Rises Will Bear Down on Domestic Demand (Publication Centre)

October's Markit/CIPS manufacturing survey indicates that producers are not shying away from passing on to their customers the higher costs stemming from sterling's depreciation.

13 April 2017 Slowing Labour Income Growth Highlights Consumers' Woes (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's labour market data showed that growth in households' income has slowed significantly in recent months. Firms are both hiring cautiously and restraining wage increases, due to heightened uncertainty about the economic outlook and rising raw material and non-wage labour costs. Consumers' spending, therefore, will support GDP growth to a far smaller extent this year than last.

12 Nov. 2015 NFIB Points to Rising Capex, and Modest Increases in Core Inflation (Publication Centre)

To the extent that markets bother with the NFIB survey at all, most of the attention falls on the labor market numbers. But these data--hiring, compensation, jobs hard-to-fill--haven't changed much in recent months, and in any event most of them are released the week before the main survey, which appeared yesterday. The message from the labor data is unambiguous: Hiring remains very strong, employers are finding it very difficult to fill open positions, and compensation costs are accelerating.

08 Feb. 2016 Complacency Rife About Boost to Prices From National Living Wage (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor announced to great fanfare last July that a new National Living Wage-- NLW--would be introduced in April 2016 at 7.5% above the existing legal minimum for most workers. Companies can and will take a variety of actions to mitigate the impact on their costs.

10 February 2017 Still no Sign of a Sustained Trade Boost From Sterling's Depreciation (Publication Centre)

Today's trade figures likely will continue to show that the benefits from sterling's depreciation are being outweighed by the costs. Exports still are barely growing, but consumers are about to endure a substantial import price shock. The monthly trade deficit has been extremely volatile over the last year, generating a series of excessively upbeat or gloomy headlines. The truth is that the deficit has been on a slightly deteriorating trend, as our first chart shows. We think the trade deficit likely narrowed to £3.8B in December, from £4.2B in November, bringing it closer to its rolling 12-month average of £3.0B.

12 June 2018 Core Inflation to Trend Gently Higher - Many Risks in Both Direction (Publication Centre)

We continue to expect core CPI inflation to drift up further over the course of this year, partly because of adverse base effects running through November, but it's hard to expect a serious acceleration in the monthly run rate when the rate of increase of unit labor costs is so low.

01 Mar. 2016 Rising Consumer Debt Puts Pressure on the Bank to Act (Publication Centre)

British households are back to their old ways and are piling on debt again. With borrowing costs still falling, consumer confidence high and banks willing to lend, indebtedness will only increase unless the Bank of England acts.

20 April 2018 Soaring Hospital Inflation Soon to be a Problem for the Fed? (Publication Centre)

The biggest surprise in the recent inflation numbers has been the surge in the PCE measure of hospital services costs, where the year-over-year rate has jumped to 3.8% in February, an eight-year high, from just 1.3% in September.

3 Dec. 2015 Low Inflation Expectations Won't Become Self-Fulfilling (Publication Centre)

Households' inflation expectations have fallen again over the last few months, but we doubt they will constrain the forthcoming rebound in actual inflation. Past experience shows that inflation expectations are more of a coincident than a leading indicator of inflation. In addition, inflation is weakest right now in sectors where demand is relatively insensitive to price changes, so, when retailers' costs rise, they won't pay much heed to households' expectations.

27 June 2017 Japanese Inflation to Hold up as Food Prices Counterbalance Energy (Publication Centre)

Japanese services price inflation edged down in May as the twin upside drivers of commodity price inflation and yen weakness began to lose steam. We expect wage costs to begin edging up in the second half but this will provide only a partial counterbalance.

20 May. Retailers Can't Slash Prices to Boost Demand for Much Longer (Publication Centre)

April's consensus-beating retail sales figures fostered an impression that the recovery in consumer spending is in fine fettle, even though the rest of the economy is suffering from Brexit blues. Retailers have stimulated demand, however, by slashing prices at an unsustainable rate. With import prices and labour costs now rising, retailers are set to increase prices, sapping the momentum in sales volumes.

30 Oct. 2015 Can the Recovery in Business Investment Maintain Its Pace? (Publication Centre)

Business investment has punched above its weight in the economic recovery from the crash of 2008; annual real growth in capex has averaged 5% over the last five years, greatly exceeding GDP growth of 2%. This recovery is unlikely to grind to a halt soon, since profit margins are still high and borrowing costs will remain low. But corporate balance sheets are not quite as robust as they seem, while capex in the investment-intensive oil sector still has a lot further to fall.

30 Oct. 2015 The Third Quarter ECI is Set to Rebound, but How Far? (Publication Centre)

We have been asked by a few readers how much confidence we have in our forecast of a 1% rebound in the third quarter employment costs index, well above the 0.6% consensus and the mere 0.2% second quarter gain. The answer, unfortunately, is not much, though we do think that the balance of risks to the consensus is to the upside.

26 Jan. 2016 The Collapse in Oil Prices Won't Reinvigorate the Economy in 2016 (Publication Centre)

The response of U.K. producers and consumers to lower oil prices could not have been more different to those on the other side of the Atlantic. Counter-intuitively, U.K. oil production has grown strongly over the last year, while investment hasn't collapsed to the same extent as in the U.S., yet. Meanwhile, U.K. households have thrown caution to the wind and already have spent the windfall from the previous drop in oil prices, unlike their more prudent--so far--U.S. counterparts. With the costs still to come but most of the benefits already enjoyed, lower oil prices will be neutral for 2016 U.K. GDP growth, at best.

3 March 2017 Will the Chancellor Change the MPC's Inflation Target? (Publication Centre)

The CPIH--the controversial, modified version of the existing CPI that includes a measure of owner occupied housing, or OOH, costs--will become the headline measure of consumer price inflation when February's data are published on March 21.

21 Apr. 2015 Survey evidence signalling faster wage gains is mounting (Publication Centre)

We have argued for some time that the plunge in gasoline prices will constrain core inflation over the course of this year, by reducing production and distribution costs for a broad array of goods.

21 Mar. 2016 The Periphery is Slowly Regaining Competitiveness in the Eurozone (Publication Centre)

Labour costs growth accelerated modestly last year in the Eurozone. Data on Friday showed that Q4 nominal labour costs in the Eurozone rose 1.3% year-over-year, slightly higher than the 1.1% increase in Q3. The modest acceleration was mainly due to a rise in "non-business" labour costs, which rose 1.6% year-over-year, up from a 0.9% increase in Q3.

22 June 2017 Are we headed toward an extension of the U.K.'s EU membership? (Publication Centre)

The EU has had a better start to the Brexit negotiations than its counterpart across the Channel. The risk of disagreement within the EU on the details with of the U.K.'s exit is high, but the Continent has presented a united front so far, mainly because Mr. Macron and Mrs. Merkel agree on the broad objectives. They have no interest in punishing the U.K., but they are also keen to show that exiting the EU has costs for a country which leaves.

24 Mar. 2015 Core Inflation Set to Slow in the Short-term, But Watch Services (Publication Centre)

It's probably too soon to start looking for second round effects from the drop in gasoline prices in the core CPI. History suggests quite strongly that sharp declines in energy prices feed into the core by depressing the costs of production, distribution and service delivery, but the lags are quite long, a year or more.

25 Feb. 2015 Sharp Increase in Brazil's Inflation Rate - BCB Will Have to Hike Again (Publication Centre)

The bad economic news in Brazil is unstoppable. The mid-month CPI index rose 1.3% month-to-month in February, as education, housing, and transport prices increased. School tuition fees jumped 6% month-to-month in February, reflecting their annual adjustment, and transport costs rose by 2% due to an increase in regulated gasoline prices.

5 July 2018 ADP Likely to Report Another Solid Gain in Payrolls (Publication Centre)

Payroll growth rebounded to 223K in May, after two sub-200K readings, and we're expecting today's June ADP report to signal that labor demand remains strong.

THE GUARDIAN - UK manufacturing growth slows in November (Media Centre)

Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Manufacturing

WALL STREET JOURNAL - U.K. Pay Growth Flattens Off (Media Centre)

Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on Pay Growth and Unemployment

Guardian - UK GDP growth slower than expected as inflation bites (Media Centre)

Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs discussing Q1 GDP Results

Ian Shepherdson

Ian Shepherdson's mission is to present complex economic ideas in a clear, understandable and actionable manner to financial market professionals. He has worked in and around financial markets for more than 20 years, developing a strong sense for what is important to investors, traders, salespeople and risk managers.

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