As we near the end of the Federal Reserve’s current interest rate hike schedule, inflation data from October shows a continued slowdown in the rate of price increases. This is the second straight month that inflation has slowed in the U.S., and the Fed wants to see further moderate inflation readings before it begins to hike rates again. In addition, the Fed is expecting a slower growth in the economy in the coming months.
Consumer prices jump 7.7 percent in October from a year ago
The Consumer Price Index rose 7.7 percent in October from a year ago. It had a slower increase than expected by economists, but was better than the 8.1 percent increase in September.
This figure is a good sign for the economy. But it also indicates that the pace of inflation is slowing down, which means that the Federal Reserve will be able to raise interest rates at a slower rate in the future.
The inflation pressures remain strong, however, as rising housing costs continue to be a big driver. Housing is responsible for a fifth of the overall increase in October.
The cost of shelter grew at the fastest rate since August 1990, bringing the total increase from last year to 6.9 percent. Meanwhile, prices for food slowed down, and used cars fell.
Gas prices declined for the fourth time in five months. Although gasoline was up more than four percent in October, it was still down from its peak early in the summer. Energy remains a volatile factor in the U.S., especially with the war in Ukraine a potential factor.
Inflation has continued to be a problem, but it’s one that policymakers are trying to address. They’ve raised rates several times in the past few months, primarily to curb inflation.
While it looks like the Fed will continue to raise interest rates, some officials are advocating for smaller steps in the near term. Others, however, believe that the decline in inflation can help the bank raise rates at a more moderate rate.
For the month, the core CPI increased 0.3%. That’s below the 6.5% change analysts had expected, and the 0.4% gain is the smallest increase since December 2021.
In addition, the core services index increased 0.4%. These prices have considered a leading indicator of inflation. Among other services, these prices were up due to the pick-up in education, communication, and personal services.
While energy and food continue to be a driving force for inflation, the pervasiveness of price increases has been a sticking point for businesses and consumers.
Inflation data shows a slowdown in price increases for the second-straight month
The Consumer Price Index rose 7.1% year-over-year in November, slowing down for the second consecutive month. This figure is the lowest annual increase since December 2021, when inflation hit 7.0%. Despite the recent slowdown, overall inflation is still too high. It has been rising for more than a year.
However, the report is a positive sign for consumers and investors. Fed officials are still on track to raise interest rates by at least half a percentage point in December.
Last week, Fed chair Jerome Powell said the Fed was willing to “slow down” the pace of rate increases. He also pointed to persistent worker shortages.
According to the summary of economic projections released by the Federal Reserve, inflation has eased but is still too high. The median forecast calls for a fed funds rate of 4.1% by the end of 2024.
While overall inflation will remain too high, the recent slowdown in price increases suggests that the Fed will be able to soften its approach next year. But it will take time for that to happen.
Inflation has been high for a long time, and the recent slowdown may not bring it down as quickly as some economists are hoping. President Biden has warned that the nation faces more setbacks in efforts to control inflation.
The Fed has been raising its short-term borrowing rate six times this year. The rate had pushed up to a targeted range of 3.75% to 4% in March.
The Fed has expected to raise its target range by 0.5 percent to 0.75% on Wednesday. These rate hikes will increase the cost of borrowing for businesses and consumers. As a result, the economy will likely slow down in the fourth quarter.
But the Fed needs to find the balance between raising its interest rates too far and risking a recession. For example, the unemployment rate has projected to climb from 3.7% to 4.6% by the end of next year. Increasing rates too fast could make the economy uncompetitive with other nations.
The recent slowdown in prices is good news for consumers and investors. It suggests that the Fed will be able to slow down its rate increases and still keep the economy strong.
Fed wants/expects slower economic growth
The Federal Reserve has expected to raise interest rates by three quarters of a percentage point on Wednesday. While the rate hike is not expected to trigger a recession. The Fed is expected to continue its aggressive tightening of monetary policy.
The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates four times in a row. These rate increases have had the desired effect of slowing the economy, making borrowing more expensive. Consequently, it is not surprising that Wall Street businesses is urging the central bank to dial back its tightening.
Some economists claim that the Fed’s rate hikes have been less than impressive, while others say that the Fed hasn’t done enough to keep inflation from rising. Nevertheless, the most important question remains: will these rate hikes lead to an economic downturn?
To answer that, the federal government is taking steps to curb spending, including ending support programs for pandemic relief. At the same time, the housing sector, which is the most interest rate-sensitive segment of the economy, is showing signs of life.
On the other hand, inflation has been squeezing Americans for a year now. With the unemployment rate near a half-century low, the Fed needs to be careful about the direction it takes.
The Fed is focusing on the elusive price stability mandate, while simultaneously trying to keep inflation under control. One FOMC official is worried about the downside of a higher inflation rate. While another suggests that a lower rate could keep the economy from moving forward at a faster pace.
The Fed is also aiming to smooth out the bumpy ride by bringing down the cost of borrowing. But lowering the rates won’t be easy. As a result, it’s unlikely that the Federal Reserve will be able to shave 4 or 5 percentage points off the benchmark rates over the course of the next few years.
Although the Fed is working to smooth out the bumps in the road, some analysts believe that it’s still too early to tell. In the meantime, it’s worth keeping an eye out for the next rate increase.
Fed wants/expects further moderate inflation readings before suspending rate hikes
Inflation has been squeezing Americans in recent months, and the Federal Reserve wants to put an end to it. But the Fed’s chairman, Jerome Powell, warned that his central bank is not close to victory.
Powell’s message was aimed at putting the pressure on Wall Street to be more patient in raising interest rates. He indicated that the Fed may need to wait for better inflation news before it starts to slow its rate hikes.
While inflation is down from its previous highs, it remains at a level that has caused many commentators to warn against overdoing it. High inflation can be damaging to the economy, and it can lead to consumer behavior changes.
One of the most important data points in the economy is the consumer price index, or CPI. It’s a proxy for inflation that measures how much people are paying for goods and services. A number of economists are forecasting that the October CPI reading will be 0.5%. This is lower than most economists expected.
The Fed’s policymakers were preparing to announce new estimates of inflation and the economy at their December meeting. But the latest inflation data from october were lower than they expected. They said the CPI had slowed for the fifth straight month.
In addition to the headline CPI, the core CPI, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, was also up. That’s still higher than the Fed’s target of 2 percent.
With the Fed’s rate hikes driving up the cost of borrowing for businesses and consumers. Some economists are worried about the health of the labor market. If the Fed continues to raise rates, workers may demand higher pay to match rising prices.
But with the unemployment rate falling to a half-century low, the tight labor market should point to a gradual decline in prices. Until that time, the Fed is likely to keep raising rates to slow growth.
Inflation is squeezing the US economy, and it’s important that the Fed’s policies continue to focus on controlling the situation. However, the Fed must also take into account the consequences of allowing it to remain entrenched