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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.

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.

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?

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 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.

2 October 2017 Japanese CPI Inflation Still led by Food and Energy, for now (Publication Centre)

Japanese CPI inflation jumped to 0.7% in August from 0.4% in July. The ris e in prices over the last year, however, was mainly driven by food and energy.

18 November. 2016 Yellen Still Thinks Inflation Will Hit the Target in Two Years. Hmm. (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen's Testimony yesterday pretended the election hadn't happened, and ignored the incoming administration's plans for a huge fiscal stimulus. She did address the issue under questioning, though, pointing out that fiscal stimulus could have inflationary consequences and that the Fed will have to factor-in to its decisions whatever Congress decides to do to taxes and spending.

18 March 2019 Is the Fed set to Abandon its Previous Sensitivity to Wage Growth? (Publication Centre)

The rate of growth of wages has been the single best guide to Fed policy for many years.

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%.

19 Nov. 2015 Fed Set for December Hike, but Expect Two Dissents (Publication Centre)

At the October FOMC meeting, policymakers softened their view on the threat posed by the summer's market turmoil and the slowdown in China, dropping September's stark warning that "Recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in the near term." Instead, the October statement merely said that the committee is "monitoring global economic and financial developments."

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.

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.

4 April 2018 Japan's Tankan Points to Building Inflationary Pressure (Publication Centre)

The Tankan survey--published on Monday--points to still buoyant sentiment, a further tightening of the labour market, and building inflation pressures.

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.

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.

17 October. 2016 Retail Sales are Noisy, but the Trend in Consumption Looks Solid (Publication Centre)

In the wake of the September retail sales report, we can be pretty sure that real consumers' spending rose at a 2¾% annualized rate in the third quarter, slowing from the unsustainable 4.3% jump. That would mean consumption contributed 1.9 percentage points to headline GDP growth.

26 May. 2015 Is Core Inflation Really Rising, or are the Recent Gains Just Noise? (Publication Centre)

After four straight above-trend increases in the core CPI, you could be forgiven for thinking that something is afoot. It's still too soon, though to rush to judgment. The data show three previous streaks of 0.2%-or-bigger over four-month periods since the crash of 2008, and none of them were sustained.

22 Feb. 2016 The Fed is Ahead of the Curve but Behind the Economy (Publication Centre)

Here's something we didn't expect to write: The CPI measure of goods prices, excluding food and energy, rose in the three months to January, compared to the previous three months. OK, the increase was marginal, a mere 0.3%, but conventional wisdom has assumed for some time that the strong dollar would push goods prices down indefinitely.

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 January 2019 Downside Risk to December's CPI Watch Used Auto Prices Airline Fares (Publication Centre)

The CPI report due today will be released on schedule, because the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiles the data, remains open during the partial government shutdown.

11 May 2018 Base Effects Push up China's PPI Inflation, but Disin ation will Resume (Publication Centre)

The re-emergence of Chinese PPI inflation in 2016 was instrumental in stabilising equities after the 2015 bubble burst.

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 April 2019 Don't be Misled by Falling Apparel Prices Services Inflation Risks Rising (Publication Centre)

A plunge in apparel prices attracted most of the attention after the release of the March CPI report, but it was not, in our view, the most important number.

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.

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 October 2018 The Core CPI Probably Rebounded in September (Publication Centre)

We'd be surprised to see a repeat today of August's very modest 0.08% increase in the core CPI.

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.

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 Dec. 2015 Core CPI Inflation to Hit 2% for the First Time Since May 2014 (Publication Centre)

Falling gas prices will make themselves felt in the November CPI data today, with a likely 4% seasonally adjusted decline enough to subtract 0.2% from the month-to-month change in the headline index. But gas prices plunged by 7.2% in November last year, so in year-over-year terms gas prices will push aggregate headline inflation up. We look for the rate to rise to 0.4%, up from 0.2% in October and zero in September. The same story will play out in January and February too, by which time the headline rate should have risen to 1¼%, assuming a crude oil price of about $35 per barrel.

13 May 2019 Inflation in Rents and Other Services is Rising, Further Gains Ahead (Publication Centre)

The core CPI inflation rate rose in April to 2.1% from 2.0%, thanks to unfavorable rounding, despite the below consensus 0.14% month-to-month print.

13 March 2019 Durable Goods Orders are Noisy, but the Near-term Outlook is Grim (Publication Centre)

Our default position for core durable goods orders over the next few months is that they will fall, sharply.

12 June 2018 Don't Jump on China's PPI Inflation Pick-up - Inflation will Slow in Q3 (Publication Centre)

China's PPI inflation has been trending down since early 2017.

13 February 2019 Few Near-Term Upside Risks to Core Inflation Medium-Term Threat Rising (Publication Centre)

The odds favor--just--an end to the three-month streak of solid 0.2% increases in the core CPI with the release of today's January report.

16 Oct. 2015 Goods Prices Aren't Falling Fast Enough to Offset Services Gains (Publication Centre)

The strong dollar is pushing down goods prices, but not very quickly. As a result, the sustained upward pressure on rents is gradually nudging core CPI inflation higher. It now stands at 1.9%, up from a low of 1.6% in January, and even relatively modest gains over the third quarter will push the rate above 2% by year-end. We can't rule out core CPI inflation ending the year at a startling 2.3%.

Consistently Right

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