The U.S. Federal Reserve’s announcement of another 25 basis point hike in the fed funds rate range to 1.5% to 1.75% was widely expected by us and by markets. The more interesting aspect of the March FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting is the change to central bank officials’ forecasts.
We believe the trade actions with the most significant potential economic and market impact have yet to unfold.
We saw little to surprise in February’s U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation print: Core CPI (excluding food and energy prices) gained 0.18% month-over-month, a moderation from January’s 0.34% gain, and held steady at 1.8% year-over-year.
U.S. inflation continued to accelerate in January, with a 0.349% month-over-month advance in core Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation (which excludes food and energy prices) – the strongest gain since 2001.
The U.S. economic numbers released last week preceded a slide in equities, prompting keen interest in what the data may have been signaling to markets.
Core U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rose 0.22% month-over-month in October, broadly in line with expectations for firming price trends but notably stronger than the 0.14% average monthly pace this year.
Despite a hurricane-related surge in headline inflation, core inflation continued to run softer than expected in September, a trend that could make the Federal Reserve more cautious about hiking interest rates in December.
As many observers expected, after five months of surprisingly soft inflation prints, prices firmed in August. U.S. core CPI inflation (which excludes the volatile food and energy categories) was up 0.25%, boosted by the largest-ever one-month increase in hotel prices and surprising firmness in rents and owners’ equivalent rents (OER).
Another underwhelming rise in the U.S. core Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported on Friday increases the chances that Federal Reserve policymakers use the September meeting to signal they plan to abstain from additional interest rate hikes until next year.
A growing number of Federal Open Market Committee officials have voiced concerns over decelerating inflation since the June FOMC meeting, and the latest inflation print likely did little to alleviate them.