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We find ourselves at odds with a couple of ideas gaining currency among the commentariat, namely, that markets are becoming less worried about inflation risk, and that the rise in oil prices will materially slow the rate of U.S. economic growth.
The Dallas Fed last week published a short blog post—seehere—focused on the predictive power of their trimmed mean PCE inflation measure.
Question: What's the fastest known mechanism for getting oil out of the ground?
In 2015, key labor market indicators from the NFIB small business survey returned to levels last seen at the peak of the cycle in 2007, and unemployment hit the Fed's then-estimate of the Nairu.
A year or so from now, if the economy is beset by stubbornly high inflation, and the Fed is hammering asset prices by aggressively tightening policy in order to stem a further upward twist of the spiral, it's a fair bet that we'll look back to last week's data and say: "That's when they should have thrown up their hands, admitted they underestimated the inflation pressures triggered by unprecedented policy easing, and signaled a shift in policy."
The April retail sales and industrial production numbers today are wild cards, with the former especially hard to predict after the stimulus-fuelled surge in spending in March.
A further improvement in sentiment among small firms seems a decent bet for today's April NFIB survey.
If you were managing a bond portfolio in the early 1960s, you wouldn't have given much thought to inflation risk. The average CPI inflation rate in the 1950s was 2.1%, and the first five years of the sixties saw inflation averaging just 1.2%.
The net risk to today's February core CPI data probably is to the upside.
The S&P 500 probably has fallen far enough fully
to reflect the valuation hit from the rise in Treasury yields, and the Nasdaq probably has overshot.
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