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What should we make of the news that manufacturing production fell outright in June—just—but that the Empire State manufacturing index has rocketed to a record high?
The FOMC statement yesterday changed only trivially from April, just noting that the Covid picture is improving, easing the pressure on the economy, and that inflation is no longer below the target.
Let's try to put ourselves into the shoes of the FOMC, as the economy builds momentum on the back of the reopening. It is now abundantly clear from hard data, shown in our first chart, that the reopening has triggered a big spike in prices—mostly across the Covid-hit services sector—it's no longer a forecast.
It would not be fair, yet, to describe the industrial recovery as faltering, though you could be forgiven for looking at the recent path of core durable goods orders and wondering.
The FOMC minutes from April mostly are old news, in the wake of the latest payroll and CPI reports, released after the meeting, but they do serve to emphasize how strongly most Fed members are committed to the idea that policy can remain loose until the evidence clearly points to sustained upward pressure on inflation.
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