April 17, 2024

TechNewsInsight

Technology/Tech News – Get all the latest news on Technology, Gadgets with reviews, prices, features, highlights and specificatio

The Fed's “bumpy” inflation picture may be about to get even bumpier

The Fed's “bumpy” inflation picture may be about to get even bumpier

The hotter-than-expected inflation readings prompted some Fed officials to describe the road to the 2% inflation target as “bumpy.”

New data due Thursday morning will determine whether this picture is about to get even rougher.

Economists expect the Fed's preferred measure of inflation — the “core” personal consumption expenditures index that strips out volatile food and energy prices — to reach 2.8% for January on an annualized basis.

That would be slightly lower than the 2.9% annual increase recorded in December. But the monthly increase that economists expect is 0.4%, compared to 0.2% in December.

This may raise concerns that inflation is not moving quickly enough. It could also bring six-month and three-month annual inflation numbers back above the Fed's 2% target, according to Bank of America.

The new personal consumption expenditures reading is important for investors as they try to determine how quickly the central bank will begin to ease monetary policy in the wake of the most aggressive campaign to cool inflation since the 1980s.

Markets began the year betting on six cuts starting in March, only to return to three cuts starting in June after dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and a host of other Fed officials, along with higher-than-expected readings on inflation.

Read more: What the Fed's interest rate decision means for bank accounts, CDs, loans and credit cards

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in January was hotter than economists expected, as was the Producer Price Index (PPI), which tracks the prices companies pay to make products and services.

See also  UAW leaders move forward with Ford contract as GM talks continue

Because there is a correlation between the PPI and personal consumption expenditures, “there is a risk that the PCE rate will rise” when the number is released Thursday, according to Wilmer Stith, a bond portfolio manager at Wilmington Trust Company.

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference after releasing the Fed's interest rate policy decision at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, US, January 31, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hochstein/File Photo

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. REUTERS/Evelyn Hochstein/File Photo (Reuters/Reuters)

Stith added that if the PCE number is already high and US jobs numbers continue to beat expectations, it is possible that the Fed decides to keep interest rates high for longer.

He added: “I don't think they will raise interest rates.” “[But] “Maybe the Fed will push it back a bit to two cuts instead of three.”

Several Fed officials last week cited recent inflation data as evidence that the path down to 2% will be “bumpy,” with both Fed Vice Chairman Philip Jefferson and Fed Deputy Chairman for Supervision Michael Barr using that exact word.

Fed Governor Chris Waller raised the question of whether January's data represents a more serious “hole,” stressing that the central bank should take its time when it comes to interest rate cuts.

“I will need to see at least two more months of inflation data before I can judge whether January's hot inflation reading was a speed bump or a pothole.”

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13: Christopher Waller testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee during a hearing on their nomination to be a member-designate of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve on February 13, 2020 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13: Christopher Waller testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee during a hearing on their nomination to be a member-designate of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve on February 13, 2020 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images) (Sarah Silbiger via Getty Images)

He said he still expects cuts “at some point this year” but that the rate-setting committee “can wait a little longer.”

“What's the rush?” Asked.

Fed officials issued more cautionary notes this week in the days leading up to the personal consumption expenditures release.

See also  Jack Ma, founder of the Ant Group, will give up Control

Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said Tuesday that the Fed has not yet reached a point where it will start cutting interest rates and that cutting rates too quickly may require raising interest rates later.

It added that it is also prepared to raise interest rates if progress in inflation stalls or reverses.

“When it comes to very high inflation, I think we are not out of the woods yet,” Kansas City Fed President Jeff Schmid said Monday night in his first-ever speech since taking office last year.

US Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman attends a meeting US Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman attends a meeting

Federal Reserve Governor Michael Bowman. (Photo by Eric Bradat/AFP via Getty Images) (Eric Bradat via Getty Images)

He said the decline so far has been driven by lower commodity prices as supply chains recover from the wounds of the pandemic. He said he believes prices for services — which account for two-thirds of consumer spending — continue to rise rapidly amid a strong labor market and high wage growth.

“With inflation above target, labor markets tightening, and significant demand momentum, my view is that there is no need to proactively adjust the policy stance,” he said.

Matt Luzetti, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, said he expects personal consumption expenditures to rise by 36 basis points month-on-month in January while falling year-on-year to 2.8%.

This data is already embedded in the views of Fed officials, he said.

“A number of officials appear more cautious about impending interest rate cuts in response to stronger-than-expected data releases to start the year,” he said. “This data has given us greater confidence in our baseline view that the first cut will occur at the June meeting rather than before.”

See also  The Bank of Japan leaves interest rates unchanged and maintains an ultra-loose monetary policy

Click here for in-depth analysis of the latest stock market news and events that move stock prices.

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance