Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market House Prices Bull Market Trend Current State - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold and Silver End of Week Technical, CoT and Fundamental Status - Gary_Tanashian
3.Stock Market Dow Trend Forecast - April Update - Nadeem_Walayat
4.When Will the Stock Market’s Rally Stop? - Troy_Bombardia
5.Russia and China Intend to Drain the West of Its Gold - MoneyMetals
6.BAIDU (BIDU) - Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Stocks Investing To Profit from AI Mega-trend - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Stop Feeding the Chinese Empire - ‘Belt and Road’ Trojan Horse - Richard_Mills
8.Stock Market US China Trade War Panic! Trend Forecast May 2019 Update - Nadeem_Walayat
9.US China Trade Impasse Threatens US Lithium, Rare Earth Imports - Richard_Mills
10.How to Invest in AI Stocks to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
IBM - Investing in AI Machine Intelligence Stocks - 25th May 19
Seasonal Dysfunction: Why Generations of Gold and Silver Investors Are Having Such Difficulty - 25th May 19
Employment - The Good and the Bad of Job Automation - 25th May 19
Gold Mining Mid-Tier Stocks Fundamentals - 25th May 19
Buy This Pick-and-Shovel 5G Stock Before It Takes Off - 25th May 19
China Hang Seng Stocks Index Collapses and Commodities - 24th May 19
Costco Corp. (COST): Finding Opportunity in Five Minutes or Less - 24th May 19
How Free Bets Have Impacted the Online Casino Industry - 24th May 19
This Ultimate Formula Will Help You Avoid Dividend Cutting Stocks - 24th May 19
Benefits of a Lottery Online Account - 24th May 19
Technical Analyst: Gold Price Weakness Should Be Short Term - 24th May 19
Silver Price Looking Weaker than Gold - 24th May 19
Nigel Farage's Brexit Party EU Elections Seats Results Forecast - 24th May 19
Powerful Signal from Gold GDX - 24th May 19
Eye Opening Currency Charts – Why Precious Metals Are Falling - 23rd May 19
Netflix Has 175 Days Left to Pull Off a Miracle… or It’s All Over - 23rd May 19
Capitalism Works, Ravenous Capitalism Doesn’t - 23rd May 19
The Euro Is Bidding Its Time: A Reversal at Hand? - 23rd May 19
Gold Demand Rose 7% in Q1 2019. A Launching Pad Higher for Gold? - 23rd May 19
Global Economic Tensions Translate Into Oil Price Volatility - 22nd May 19
The Coming Pension Crisis Is So Big That It’s a Problem for Everyone - 22nd May 19
Crude Oil, Hot Stocks, and Currencies – Markets III - 22nd May 19
The No.1 Energy Stock for 2019 - 22nd May 19
Brexit Party and Lib-Dems Pull Further Away from Labour and Tories in Latest Opinion Polls - 22nd May 19
The Deep State vs Donald Trump - US vs Them Part 2 - 21st May 19
Deep State & Financial Powers Worry about Alternative Currencies - 21st May 19
Gold’s Exciting Boredom - 21st May 19
Trade War Fears Again, Will Stocks Resume the Downtrend? - 21st May 19
Buffett Mistake Costs Him $4.3 Billion This Year—Here’s What Every Investor Can Learn from It - 21st May 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast 2019 May Update - Video - 20th May 19
A Brief History of Financial Entropy - 20th May 19
Gold, MMT, Fiat Money Inflation In France - 20th May 19
WAR - Us versus Them Narrative - 20th May 19
US - Iran War Safe-haven Reasons to Own Gold - 20th May 19
How long does Google have to reference a website? - 20th May 19
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

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

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

March U.S. CPI Inflation Points Highlights Economic Risks

Economics / Inflation Apr 15, 2012 - 09:07 AM GMT

By: Tony_Pallotta

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleFriday's release of the March consumer price index (CPI) highlights the risk facing the US economy as we have been discussing over the past few weeks. When the US exited the 2008 recession (using exited loosely) it was not final demand from consumers that initiated growth but rather government stimulus. Debt as is the case with most recoveries is what fuels the initial leg.


Once economic growth begins the hope is that demand will accelerate and the recovery will become self-fulfilling with no need for additional government stimulus. So demand is the key to a sustainable recovery which is fueled by confidence and rising real or inflation adjusted wages. Clearly confidence is back as proven by Friday's release of March consumer confidence as it remains at multi-year highs.

But the wage component is missing as the following chart clearly shows. Notice how the rise in inflation as measured by CPI offsets the rise in wages. In other words there has been zero real (inflation adjusted) wage growth.

CPI and Income - Monthly Percent Change

So how are consumers able to buy more? Since inflation is offsetting monthly gains in wages the only way is to spend a higher percentage of their income. Which is in fact happening as the savings rate has been falling to mulit-year lows. The problem is history has shown this to be unsustainable for an extended period of time.

Monthly Personal Savings Rate

So if we know that a falling savings rate is not a long term solution to increasing demand then we must focus on inflation and that is where this month's CPI report was a bit disturbing. First the numbers. Below is a chart of the monthly rise in CPI for both core (where food and energy are for some odd reason removed) and for all goods and services.

Now notice the orange horizontal line which represents the Fed's inflation target of 2%. Prices are currently above that level which means the current risk is inflation not deflation.

Consumer Prices Monthly Change

Price inflation had been limited to non-discretionary items like groceries, gas, etc. Since we are forced to purchase these items manufacturers have greater freedom to "push through" their input costs and thus maintain margins.

But in the discretionary category that was not the case. Retailers for example could not push up the price of a sofa or apparel for those purchases are "discretionary." A sofa can wait but gas in the tank or food on the table cannot.

Notice how discretionary categories like apparel have gone from deflationary (contracting prices) in December through Fedbruary to now inflationary in March. I also found it interesting that used car inflation is outpacing that of new cars.

CPI Percent Change

Bottom Line

So you may ask who cares if discretionary prices are rising. Well there are two concerns. First it will further pressure demand on a real basis as you will basically sell less products when inflation adjusted which in turn will pressure the labor market and the overall economy.

But more important is the threat to wage inflation. If consumers are now confronted with higher prices for discretionary items they will begin to seek higher wages from their employers. Wage inflation is when inflation truly sets in and becomes a problem for one simple reason. Once you give someone a raise good luck taking it back.

If wage inflation sets in then the consumer is less concerned about rising discretionary prices which will actually drive inflation higher. The result is a self driving inflationary cycle and with the Fed sitting on a massive balance sheet with huge interest rate risk this is something they will be truly powerless to combat. Even though the Chairman told the world in December 2010 inflation was not a concern as he could "adjust interest rates in fifteen minutes." To that I wish the distinguished gentleman good luck.

By Tony Pallotta

http://macrostory.com/

Bio: A Boston native, I now live in Denver, Colorado with my wife and two little girls. I trade for a living and primarily focus on options. I love selling theta and vega and taking the other side of a trade. I have a solid technical analysis background but much prefer the macro trade. Being able to combine both skills and an understanding of my "emotional capital" has helped me in my career.

© 2012 Copyright  Tony Pallotta - Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 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