PanamaTimes

Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

US inflation figures are lower than Wall Street forecast - but there's pain ahead for UK

US inflation figures are lower than Wall Street forecast - but there's pain ahead for UK

Lower than expected US inflation figures are raising hopes interest rates may not need to be raised as aggressively in the future - but it is by no means clear whether inflation has peaked on this side of the Atlantic.
Today's dramatic US inflation figures raise hopes that the Federal Reserve is winning the fight against the monster.

Consumer price inflation in October came in at 7.7% on a year-on-year basis - lower than the 7.9% Wall Street had expected - and at 0.4% on a month-on-month basis which, again, was lower than the 0.6% that had been forecast.

This was a landmark in itself, since it is the first time since February this year that the headline rate of annual inflation has gone below 8%.

More important still are the so-called 'core' inflation numbers. This is the number that strips out volatile elements such as energy, food and tobacco and is relied on by the Fed as an accurate barometer of underlying inflationary pressures in the economy.

Here, too, the numbers were heading in the right direction.

On a year-on-year basis, core inflation came in at 6.3%, which was lower than the 6.5% expected. And, on a month-on-month basis, core inflation came in at 0.3% against the 0.5% that had been forecast on Wall Street.

The figures will raise hopes that the Fed will not have to raise US interest rates as aggressively in future as it has been.

The Fed chair, Jerome Powell, indicated last month that the Fed was even prepared to risk a US recession in order to bring inflation under control and the central bank has raised its main policy, Fed Funds, by 0.75% in each of its last four policy meetings.

The market reaction was instant. US stock futures rose, as did US Treasuries (US government IOUs), sending Treasury yields (which move in the opposite direction to the price) lower.

There was a similar reaction in Europe. The FTSE-100, which had been languishing in negative territory all morning, immediately reversed those losses to post a 1.5% gain. Yields on gilts - UK government bonds and the focus of so much attention lately - also fell.

On the currency markets, the prospect of the Fed going easier on interest rate rises from now on sent the dollar lower. Sterling is currently ahead by some 2% against the greenback and heading back up towards $1.16. The euro has also posted a gain of more than 1% against the greenback on the session.

Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management, said: "The first downside surprise in inflation in several months will inevitably be received by an equity market ovation.

"Not only is headline CPI back below its pre-Russia-Ukraine conflict level, but some details of the report suggest the long-awaited decline in inflation could now be underway.

"For now, however, despite both core and headline inflation easing, the best we can expect from the Fed is a downshift in the pace of tightening. A 0.5% hike, rather than 0.75%, in December is clearly on the cards but, until we have had a run of these types of CPI reports, a pause is still some way out.

"Let the market enjoy today, it still has another 100bps [1%] or so of tightening to commiserate."

Stuart Clark, portfolio manager at wealth manager Quilter, added: "Inflation in the US has once again fallen, giving some momentum to the idea that the worst is now behind us.

"The rate is lower than expectations and this will provide some relief to consumers and the wider market, however it is worth noting food and shelter is still increasing, so we're not completely out of the woods yet."

Those are points worth bearing in mind. At 7.7%, the headline rate of inflation remains significantly higher than anything most American households or businesses have experienced during the last four decades. The Fed is still going to have to carry on raising the cost of borrowing and not least because, as was shown by other figures published today, the US jobs market still remains immensely strong.

And on this side of the Atlantic, it is by no means clear that inflation has even peaked, as it appears to have in the US.

The headline CPI figure for September was 10.1% and it is unlikely to be any lower when the October figure is published nine days from now. The same can be said for the eurozone where, in October, headline CPI hit 10.7%.

So there is still a lot of pain to come for UK households and businesses.

That said, it is unalloyed good news that inflation in the US is starting to moderate, albeit remaining at a historically high rate.

So far as the fight against inflation goes, the US economy is not out of the tunnel yet, but the light at the end of it is hoving into view.
Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×