Friday, 23 February, 2018

Inflation Pickup A Challenge For Fed Chief Powell

After hitting 25-month high in November IIP shrinks to 7.1% in December 2017 Inflation Targets Above Expectations, Spooking Markets
Ellis Copeland | 15 February, 2018, 16:28

Over the last 12 months, the index rose 2.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index increased 0.5 percent last month as households paid more for gasoline, rental accommodation and healthcare.

Fed officials are looking for clues about whether or not wage growth will continue to accelerate, and eventually put upward pressure on consumer prices, as they contemplate raising interest rates several times this year under new Chairman Jerome Powell.

THE inflation rate unexpectedly remained steady at 3 per cent in January, keeping the pressure on the Bank of England to hike interest rates as early as May. Construction goods jumped to 6.7 percent during December after growing at its fastest pace in almost five years at 13.5 percent in November aided by expansion in steel and cement output.

For the 13th consecutive month since January 2017, Consumer Price Index, CPI, dropped to about 15.13 per cent in January 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, said in its latest Inflation Report.

Core CPI is projected by consensus to rise 0.2% in January following a similarly sized increase in December.

USA consumer prices rose considerably more than expected in January, stoking fears that inflation is about to turn dangerously higher. The central bank has raised its inflation forecast to 5.1 percent for the January-March quarter, compared with 4.6 per cent for October-December.

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"Against this backdrop, the attention on the incoming monthly data will likely be on the inflation and trade deficit prints", the brokerage said in the report.

Urban inflation according to the data also rose by 15.56 percent in January 2018 from 16.78 percent in December 2017, compared with the rural inflation rate, which declined by 14.76 percent in January 2018 from 15.02 percent in December 2017.

Expectations of higher interest rates globally are not simply a hypothesis on the part of investors.

Apart from releasing the quick estimates of the IIP for December 2017, the CSO also released the first revised estimates for the indices for November 2017 and September 2017.

Thomas Wells, manager of the Smith & Williamson Global Inflation-Linked Bond fund, said there is a good probability the BoE won't be able to get CPI inflation back to 2% this year.

"The market has done very well with 3% 10-year yields, 4% 10 year-yields and even 5%", Krosby said.

Interest rates have been historically low for years.

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