Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold Final Warning: Here Are the Stunning Implications of Plunging Gold Price - P_Radomski_CFA
2.Fed Balance Sheet QE4EVER - Stock Market Trend Forecast Analysis - Nadeem_Walayat
3.UK House Prices, Immigration, and Population Growth Mega Trend Forecast - Part1 - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Gold and Silver Precious Metals Pot Pourri - Rambus_Chartology
5.The Exponential Stocks Bull Market - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Yield Curve Inversion and the Stock Market 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.America's 30 Blocks of Holes - James_Quinn
8.US Presidential Cycle and Stock Market Trend 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Dear Stocks Bull Market: Happy 10 Year Anniversary! - Troy_Bombardia
10.Britain's Demographic Time Bomb Has Gone Off! - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Tory Leadership Contest - Will Michael Gove Stab Boris Johnson in the Back Again? - 19th May 19
Stock Market Counter-trend Rally - 19th May 19
Will Stock Market “Sell in May, Go Away” Lead to a Correction… or a Crash? - 19th May 19
US vs. Global Stocks Sector Rotation – What Next? Part 1 - 19th May 19
BrExit Party EarthQuake Could Win it 150 MP's at Next UK General Election! - 18th May 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast 2019 May Update - 18th May 19
US Economy to Die a Traditional Death… Inflation Is Going to Move Higher - 18th May 19
Trump’s Trade War Is Good for These 3 Dividend Stocks - 18th May 19
GDX Gold Mining Stocks Fundamentals Update - 17th May 19
Stock Markets Rally Hard – Is The Volatility Move Over? - 17th May 19
The Use of Technical Analysis for Forex Traders - 17th May 19
Brexit Party Set to Storm EU Parliament Elections - Seats Forecast - 17th May 19
Is the Trade War a Catalyst for Gold? - 17th May 19
This Is a Recession Indicator No One Is Talking About—and It’s Flashing Red - 17th May 19
War! Good or Bad for Stocks? - 17th May 19
How Many Seats Will Brexit Party Win - EU Parliament Elections Forecast 2019 - 16th May 19
It’s Not Technology but the Fed That Is Taking Away Jobs - 16th May 19
Learn to Protect your Forex Trading Capital - 16th May 19
Gold Ratio Charts Offer The Keys to the Bull Market - 16th May 19
Is Someone Secretly Smashing the Stock Market at Night? - 16th May 19
Crude Oil Price Fails At Critical Fibonacci Level - 15th May 19
Strong Stock Market Rally Expected - 15th May 19
US China Trade Impasse Threatens US Lithium, Rare Earth Imports - 15th May 19
Gold Mind Reader's Guide to the Global Markets Galaxy: 'Surreal' - 15th May 19
Trade Wars and Other Black Swan Threats to Your Investments - 15th May 19
Our Long-Anticipated Gold Momentum Rally Begins - 15th May 19
Defense Spending Is Recession Proof - Defense Dividend Stocks - 15th May 19
US China Trade Issues Will Drive Market Trends – PART II - 14th May 19
The Exter Inverted Pyramid of Global Liquidity Credit risk, Liquidity and Gold - 14th May 19
Can You Afford To Ignore These Two Flawless Gold Slide Indicators? - 14th May 19
As cryptocurrency wallets become more popular, will cryptocurrencies replace traditional payments? - 14th May 19
How US Debt Will Reach $40 Trillion by 2025 - 14th May 19
Dangers Beyond a Trade War with China - 14th May 19
eBook - Greatest Tool for Trading? - 14th May 19
Classic Pitfalls for Inexperienced Traders - 14th May 19
Stock Market S&P 500 Negative Expectations Again - 13th May 19
Why Rising Living Standard in China Offers Global Hope - 13th May 19
Stock Market Anticipated Correction Starts On Cue! - 13th May 19
How Chinese Trade Issues Will Drive Stock Market Trends - 13th May 19
Amazon SCAM Deliveries for Fake Verified Purchaser Reviews "Brushing" - 13th May 19
Stock Market US China Trade War Panic - Video - 13th May 19
US Stock Market Leading Macro Economic Indicators Update - 12th May 19
SAMSUNG - BC94.L - Investing in AI Machine Intelligence Stocks - 11th May 19
US Increases Trade Tariffs Against China – Stock Markets, Gold, and Silver - 11th May 19
Who Has More To Lose In A No Deal Brexit? - 11th May 19
Gold at $1,344 Will Start Real Fireworks on the Upside - 11th May 19
Make America’s Economy Great Again - 10th May 19
Big US Stocks’ 2019 Fundamentals - 10th May 19
Stock Market US China Trade War Panic! Trend Forecast May 2019 Update - 10th May 19
Stock Market Shake-Out Continues – Where Is The Bottom? - 10th May 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

U.S. House Prices Analysis and Trend Forecast 2019 to 2021

What's the Real CPI Inflation Rate?

Economics / Inflation Jul 14, 2009 - 03:14 AM GMT

By: Mike_Shedlock

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleInquiring minds are asking "What is the Real CPI?" It's a good question, too. However, you can find many widely differing opinions. For example, you will get one answer from the government, a different answer from sites like Shadowstats, and a third opinion from me.


First let's look at John Williams' Shadowstats .

That's an interesting chart, especially given the hyperinflationary bent of John Williams. He pegs the CPI at 2% as of May 2009 and had it at 9% mid-2008 and right around 5% in 2007. In contrast, the official CPI was 5.5% in mid-2008 and 2+% in 2007.

The problem will all of those numbers is they fail to properly take housing into consideration. And housing has been falling like a rock.

Should housing be in the CPI? How?

Bear in mind the government considers housing a capital good not a consumption item. Based on the idea that one would be renting a house if one did not own it, the government uses Owners Equivalent Rent (OER) and not housing prices in the CPI. OER is the largest component in the CPI.

By the same measure one might argue that lawn mowers and automobiles are capital goods. Lawn mowers are durable, not immediately consumed, and if one owns buildings and uses lawn mowers to maintain their properties (or if one hired someone to cut their lawns for them), the mowers would indeed be depreciated over time as a capital expense. The same logic also applies to auto leases.

Let's explore this from a practical standpoint starting with theory.

Consumer Price Theory and Practice

Here are a few excerpts of note from the Consumer Price Index Manual, Theory and Practice By Ralph Turvey.

Page 47: The treatment of owner occupied housing is difficult and somewhat controversial. There may be no consensus on what is the best practice. The distinctive feature is that it requires the use of an extremely large fixed asset in the form of the dwelling itself.

Page 147: The treatment of owner-occupied housing is arguably the most difficult issue faced by CPI-compilers. Equally important it may be difficult to identify a single principal purpose for the CPI.

In particular, the dual use of CPIs as both macroeconomic indicators and also for indexation purposes can lead to clear tensions in designing an appropriate treatment for owner-occupied housing costs.

Watch what happens when the Case-Shiller Housing Index is substituted for OER in the CPI.

Case Shiller CPI vs. CPI-U



The above chart is courtesy of my friend "TC".

CS-CPI fell at the fastest pace on record to measure at -6.2% year over year (YOY). Meanwhile the government’s CPI-U declined at the fastest rate since the 1950s at a -1.3% YOY pace.

The diverge is to due to the government’s housing metric of Owners’ Equivalent Rent (OER) continuing to show price increases (+2.1% YOY) vs. Case-Shiller data showing price decreases (-18.1% YOY). In fact, since the housing market peak in June 2006 OER is up +7.6%, while the Case-Shiller index is down -32.6%, an amazing 4020 basis point divergence!

CS-CPI Year over year has now fallen for 8 consecutive months and 11 of the past 15. High Year over year comparison data points for the next several months will likely result in CPI deflation coming in at -7% to -8% in the coming months.

Case Shiller CPI vs. Shadowstats

Whereas John Williams had the CPI at 9% in mid-2008, the official CPI was 5.5%, while Case-Shiller CPI had the CPI at +1%.

Which one fits events happening in the credit markets, stock market, and treasury market? The answer of course is CS-CPI.

A Practical Matter

From a consumer standpoint, what's more important, home prices dropping 25% to 50% in value over the course of a few years or the price of gasoline going from $2.00 a gallon to $4.00 a gallon over the course of those same few years?

From a macroeconomic standpoint, the correct answer to the above question is housing. People complain about gas prices when they rice because they buy gasoline every week. However, the destruction of housing wealth matters far more. Here is the question to ponder: How many tanks of gas will it take to equal the loss of $50,000 on a house?

Moreover, Fed interest rate setting is a macroeconomic event. The Fed should have been paying attention to housing prices but failed to do so. Finally, the treasury markets and consumer behavior are sure acting as if housing prices belong in the CPI.

By ignoring housing prices, CPI massively understated inflation for years and the CPI is massively overstating inflation now. Thus, as both theoretical and practical matters, Greenspan and Bernanke blew it by failing to take housing prices into consideration.

This is of course just another reason why we should not have a Fed at all. Greenspan micro-mismanaged interest rates to a ridiculously low level and Bernanke went along not understanding the problem. Now we are all paying the price for this Fed Folly.

By Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management . Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

Visit Sitka Pacific's Account Management Page to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.

I do weekly podcasts every Thursday on HoweStreet and a brief 7 minute segment on Saturday on CKNW AM 980 in Vancouver.

When not writing about stocks or the economy I spends a great deal of time on photography and in the garden. I have over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Some of my Wisconsin and gardening images can be seen at MichaelShedlock.com .

© 2009 Mike Shedlock, All Rights Reserved

Mike Shedlock Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules