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Retail and wholesale profit margins fell in April, in a sign of better inflation news ahead.
Progress will be uneven, but the ongoing inventory rebuild should push margins down over the next year.
Jobless claims seem to have stabilized at about 200K per week; nothing to worry about.
The April core CPI was lifted by a huge leap in airline fares; vehicle prices were disappointingly strong too…
…But the downshift in core-core price gains continued, and it has further to go as wage increases slow.
Inflation is likely to end the year higher than we previously thought, but the trend will be clearly falling.
Both headline and core inflation likely dropped sharp- ly in April, mostly due to base effects...
...But look out too for falling used vehicle prices, and a sequential slowing in the core-core index.
The net risk to the consensus probably is to the downside, but that’s a low-conviction call.
Payroll growth remains solid, but has slowed from its peaks; signals for late spring and summer are mixed.
Surveys point to job gains at about 250K, but they ignore the huge post-Covid hiring backlog.
If the recent slowdown in wage growth is sustained, the Fed won’t have to keep hiking by 50bp for long.
Core inflation has peaked; big falls coming
The dip in first quarter GDP hides solid consumption and investment numbers; ignore the noise.
Growth likely will rebound strongly in the second quarter; 5% or better is a decent starting assumption.
A further moderation in ECI wage growth is a good bet for Q1, implying easing core-core inflation risk.
Mobility data signal upside risk to March core retail sales; the headline will be boosted by gas prices.
Real consumption appears to be on course for a solid 4% increase; spending on services is rebounding too.
Core PPI inflation probably has peaked, but the downshift will be slower than for the core CPI.
Plunging used vehicle prices explains the undershoot in the March core CPI; they have much further to fall.
Some other components rose by less than recent trends, but too soon to know if it's more than noise.
Rebounding airline fares and profit margins signal upside risk for the March core PPI.
Both headline and core inflation peaked in March; base effect alone will trigger a clear drop in Q2.
The risks to the March core consensus are mostly to the downside, thanks to falling used vehicle prices.
The NFIB index likely dropped again in March; it’s sensitive to the stock market and gas prices.
High rent inflation does not preclude a return to 2% core CPI inflation next year…
…Retail margin compression, post-Covid, could easily drive negative inflation in some key components.
Vehicle inflation likely will be below zero by late summer, but margins are vulnerable elsewhere too.
Recessions follow sustained curve inversions, but the lag is long; other indicators are more useful.
The private sector is under no aggregate financial pressure; solid growth is a better bet than recession.
The Fed is set to hike by 50bp in May, but June remains an open question.
The March minutes will show FOMC members are much more worried about inflation than in January.
Mortgage applications are falling rapidly in the face of higher rates; further sustained declines are coming.
The modest rebound in the March ISM services index will be followed by further gains.
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