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Relief from High Prices Unlikely, Analysts Say Ahead of Consumer Inflation Data Release

Relief from High Prices Unlikely, Analysts Say Ahead of Consumer Inflation Data Release

With investors closely eyeing two major data releases this week on inflation—one on producer input costs and the other on consumer prices—Wells Fargo analysts say it’s unlikely sticker-shock-weary consumers will see relief as the persistent supply-side crunch will “keep fanning the flames on inflation in the near term.”

On Tuesday, the Labor Department will release data for October’s producer price index (PPI), which tends to front-run consumer inflation data as at least some production costs get passed on to consumers. Economists expect a year-over-year rise of 8.7 percent in the PPI inflation measure, which would be the highest reading in the history of the series. Last month’s PPI came in at 8.6 percent, a record high.

And on Wednesday, the Labor Department will issue figures for October’s consumer price index (CPI), a key measure of inflation from the perspective of end consumers of goods and services. Consensus forecasts predict a year-over-rise of 5.3 percent in the CPI inflation gauge for October, with the prior month’s rise amounting to 5.4 percent, near a 30-year high.

On a month-over-month basis, CPI is expected to clock in at 0.5 percent, according to consensus forecasts released by FXStreet, though Wells Fargo analysts expect inflation was running hotter.

“Consumer Price Index report for the month of October is unlikely to offer much of a reprieve on the inflation front,” Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a note, in which they predict a 0.6 percent month-over-month increase in the CPI index. “If realized, this would put headline CPI inflation at 5.9 percent year-over-year.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Meat Prices on the Rise

(Image from Statistics Canada: Prices for meat products rise year over year in September)

Canada’s CPI rose 4.4% YoY this September, according to Statistics Canada. Every major sector saw gains, but meat prices spiked 9.5%, marking the fastest pace of growth since April 2015. Canada’s Food Price Report for 2021, released in December 2020, predicted that meat prices would rise 4.5% to 6.5% in 2021, a drastic underestimate. Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, project lead and Director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University warned people that they should develop “immunity” to rising prices. “Immunity to higher food prices requires more cooking, more discipline and more research. It’s as simple as that.” Gaslighting the people to believe they need to change their lives, rather than government change their policy, is at play once again.

Let me remind you that Bill Gates and others have been advocating for a move to 100% synthetic beef. But his logic only applies to the “rich” countries such as the US and Canada. “Weirdly, the US livestock, because they’re so productive, the emissions per pound of beef are dramatically less than emissions per pound in Africa,” Gates said in an interview in February 2021. “So no, I don’t think the poorest 80 countries will be eating synthetic meat. I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef. You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time. Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behavior of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand.” This ties into the climate change agenda and the idea that starvation can help us shift to zero CO2…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peter Schiff: Stock Up Now! Inflation Could Get Very Ugly

Peter Schiff: Stock Up Now! Inflation Could Get Very Ugly

The price of pretty much everything is rising precipitously. The CPI for September came in above expectations with a month-on-month increase of 0.4%. Peter Schiff appeared on Unfiltered with Dan Bongino to talk about inflation in Joe Biden’s America. Peter said you should stock up now because things could get ugly really quickly.

Bongino pointed out that while wages are rising, they aren’t rising as fast as prices. Wages have risen 4.6% while inflation has surged by 5.4% — according to government numbers. Peter said that is typically the trend.

The price of labor never keeps up with the price of stuff.”

Peter said the real problem is during and after COVID, a lot of Americans stopped working.

Unfortunately, they didn’t reduce their spending because the government made the mistake of replacing the incomes they lost with new money that the Federal Reserve was printing. So, we were making fewer things to buy, but everybody had more money to buy stuff, and so, prices just went ballistic. And they’re going to keep going up.”

Bongino pointed out that the rich have accounts and hedge mechanisms to shield themselves from the impacts of inflation. But what does an average middle-class family do to avoid the financial apocalypse of inflation coming down the pike?

Peter said, first of all, remember that inflation is a tax.

So, when the Biden administration says they’re not taxing people that make less than $400,000, they’re hitting them with this huge inflation tax.”

So, how do you avoid it?

Peter said, “Stock up now!”

Buy the things that you think you may need a year from now, two years from now. Buy it now. Especially the stuff that is nonperishable…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We’re Living in a Chaos Economy. Here’s How to End It.

We’re Living in a Chaos Economy. Here’s How to End It.

small business bbq

The Federal Reserve has been increasing the money supply at an explosive rate. The federal budget, deficits, and the trade deficit are record levels. Governments, both foreign and domestic, have locked down people, restricting production and consumption. How should this be viewed by an economist?

There is clearly chaos in the economy, and hardly a day goes by when I don’t find unusual if not unprecedented situations in day-to-day economic life. However, many people and economists are either oblivious to the problems or in denial. Things are normal for them. Politicians are mostly in this camp. For economists and investment promotors, inflation is “transitory.” They don’t know how the economy works and they expect near perfection from the economy and entrepreneurs. This view is wrong.

The chaos is all too real for most others. Homemakers who spend household income are seeing their purchasing power shrink, their choices disappearing, and more of their time consumed stretching the family budgets. Christmas shopping will be worse than normal.

Chaos deniers are further entrenched in their experience by the mainstream media (MSM). The problems are either not reported by the MSM or are masked by aggregate statistics like price inflation, i.e., the Consumer Price Index, low unemployment, wage increases, and extremely high stock markets and real estate, especially housing prices. These stats make people feel good, or at least less nervous.

Below the government economists’ radar there is real economic suffering. Small businesses are hurting and going out of business. Based on Help Wanted signs I drive by every day, it is extremely difficult to hire employees or purchase inputs. One local BBQ restaurant recently had a sign that said, “Out of Chicken, Pork and Beef.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

If the Fed Can’t Hit It’s Inflation Target, Why Not Just Move the Goalposts?

If the Fed Can’t Hit It’s Inflation Target, Why Not Just Move the Goalposts?

The Fed has an inflation problem.

The CPI is running well above the mythical 2% target and there isn’t any sign that it will ease soon. To deal with this problem, the central bank should tighten its monetary policy. But that would create a whole new problem, given that it can’t tighten in this economic environment. So, what is a central banker to do?

Well, if the Fed can’t hit the target, how about just moving the target?

That idea is apparently seriously being considered.

In a Wall Street Journal article, Greg Ip floated the idea.

One strategy [Powell]—or his successor—should consider in that eventuality is to simply raise the target.”

Ip buys into Keynesian economic voodoo and thinks straitjacketing the Fed with a 2% inflation target will hinder job creation.

Why would higher inflation ever be a good thing? Economic theory says modestly higher, stable inflation should mean fewer and less severe recessions, and less need for exotic tools such as central-bank bond buying, which may inflate asset bubbles. More practically, if inflation ends up closer to 3% than 2% next year, raising the target would relieve the Fed of jacking up interest rates to get inflation down, destroying jobs in the process.”

In a sense, the Fed has already raised the inflation target. Not so long ago, it was a hard 2% target. But the COVID-19 pandemic gave the Fed just the excuse it needed to move the inflation goalposts.

Jerome Powell announced the shift to “average inflation targeting” during his Jackson Hole speech in August 2020. In effect, the Fed will allow the CPI to run “moderately” over 2% “for some time” to balance out periods where it runs under that level.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peter Schiff: When It Comes to Inflation, We’re Just Getting Started

Peter Schiff: When It Comes to Inflation, We’re Just Getting Started

The July Consumer Price Index (CPI) data came out this week. For the first time, the numbers were in line with expectations, leading many mainstream pundits to declare “transitory” inflation is already starting to cool down. Peter Schiff broke down the report in his podcast. He said inflation is far from cooling off. In fact, when it comes to rising prices, you haven’t seen anything yet.

July CPI rose 0.5% month-on-month. This was in line with expectations for the first time this year. Every other CPI report had come in hotter than expected.

The year-on-year CPI came in at 5.4% – a high number, but in line with expectations. Core CPI, stripping out more volatile food and energy, charted below estimates at 0.3%.

Adding up the monthly CPI increases gives us a 4.1% inflation rate through the first seven months of 2021. As Peter pointed out, that’s more than double the Fed’s target of “slightly above 2%,” and we’re barely over halfway through the year. If you annualized the first seven months, you get around 7.2% inflation for 2021.

Clearly, nobody can define that as ‘slightly above.’ It’s more than triple 2%. I mean, it’s getting close to quadruple.”

And as Peter points out, it would be a lot worse if we had an honest measure of price increases.

I think if we measured inflation today using the same CPI we used to measure inflation in the 1970s, this year could end up being a worse year than any single year during the 1970s.”

More disturbing, Peter said this is just the beginning.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Shrinkflation, Inflation’s Sneaky Cousin, Is on the Rise

Shrinkflation, Inflation’s Sneaky Cousin, Is on the Rise

Doritos

Inflation has been on the rise for the past year and in the last few months it has accelerated. In June 2021, inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), hit the highest level since 2008. By inflation, economists refer to the increase in the general level of prices, which means that prices on average are increasing. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) has a basket of goods and services that it tracks and uses to create a measure of the CPI. While inflation is the topic of the day in the news media and everyday conversations, many have not heard about its sneaky cousin, shrinkflation.

The term shrinkflation, is credited to British economist Pippa Malmgren, and refers to the shrinking weight of the products while the price for the package remains the same. This is in effect another form of inflation, since the per unit price of goods increases when products shrink. However, shrinkflation is trickier, since most consumers do not notice it (see here for a few examples of shrinkflation). Shrinkflation is an ongoing process, but we are seeing more of it in the past year, and especially the first half of 2021, as businesses scramble to catch up with increasing costs of production. Shrinkflation is so widespread today that there is a dedicated Reddit page for it.

Many complain about businesses resorting to shrinkflation and regard it as a sneaky way to increase prices. Yet many of the critics do not realize that businesses have no choice but to increase prices. Anyone who is paying attention to prices in the first half of 2021 will know that it is not only the price of consumer goods that it is increasing but also the prices of producer goods

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Grocery Prices Could Rise 10 to 14 Percent By October, Grocery Chain CEO Warns

Grocery Prices Could Rise 10 to 14 Percent By October, Grocery Chain CEO Warns

This warning offers a painful reminder of how price inflation hurts everyday Americans.

American families are already struggling amid mounting price inflation that’s eating away at their budgets, with higher costs for housing, vehicles, and more. Yet a top CEO is warning that the growing inflation problem facing Americans could get much worse in the coming months.

The latest June data already show price inflation at a 13-year high, with prices having risen 5.4 percent year-over-year. Proponents of the big-government policies driving much of this increase insist the uptick in prices is only temporary. But billionaire and grocery chain CEO John Catsimatidis just predicted that overall price inflation, for consumer goods generally, will hit a 6 percent annualized rate by October.

In an interview with Fox Business, the CEO warned that his industry is seeing skyrocketing costs on the supply chain side, and that businesses will have to raise prices for consumers as a result.

“Food prices are getting higher, and we expect even more increases by October,” Catsimatidis said. “You have to pass [those extra costs] on [to consumers] or you’re not doing your duty to God, your country, your employees, and your company.”

While we can’t know for certain, Catsimatidis said rising costs could mean an astounding 10 to 14 percent specific increase in grocery prices by October. That’s truly a shocking amount. But this warning offers more than insight into the grocery industry. It’s a painful reminder of how price inflation hurts everyday Americans.

When we hear terms like “Consumer Price Index” or “expansionary monetary policy,” the conversation surrounding inflation quickly becomes inaccessible for many people, whose eyes understandably glaze over amid discussion of the abstract-seeming phenomenon…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Highest Inflation in Thirty Years Vs. Denial, Hand-Waving and Excuses

Stepping on a Lego in bare feet hurts. Once you know the Lego is there, and it hurts when you step on it, you can’t ignore it. That Lego is right out in the open, after all.

High inflation feels very similar. At first it’s a shock, then it hurts, then you just can’t pretend it’s not there. Unlike a stray Lego brick, though, you can’t just tidy inflation away. (That’s the Fed’s job.)

Inflation robs you in the subtlest possible way. And once you know high inflation is there, and it bleeds your buying power month after month, it’s hard to downplay or ignore. At least for you and me.

But dismissing high inflation and hand-waving it away with vague excuses? That’s precisely what the Fed, the Treasury, the entire Biden administration and cheerleading “experts” appear to be doing.

Why? Because most Americans seem to be ignoring them.

“The headline CPI numbers have shock value, for sure”

This has been widely reported, but just so we’re on the same page:

Consumer prices increased 5.4% in June from a year earlier, the biggest monthly gain since August 2008.

That’s what Jamie Cox of Harris Financial Group meant when he told CNBC, “The headline CPI numbers have shock value, for sure.”

Yes indeed. This is the largest one-month jump since 2008. If you take the “lowest of the lowball” Core CPI measure, which ignores food and energy prices (because nobody really needs to eat, right?) the June annual inflation rate is only 4.5%, the biggest jump in 30 years.

The article called this rise “higher than expected.” That’s one way of putting it. Like saying a wreck that totals your car is “inconvenient.”

We shouldn’t worry, though! This is just transitory, just a blip of supply chains and post-pandemic pressures relaxing. Remember?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Weekly Commentary: Under Fire

Weekly Commentary: Under Fire

The week had an ominous feel. Ten-year Treasury yields dropped another seven bps to 1.29% – completely disregarding much stronger-than-expected reports on consumer and producer prices. German bund yields fell another six bps to a three-month low negative 0.35%. Equities were down for the week in Europe, but the notable equities weakness was posted by the broader U.S. market. The Midcaps dropped 3.3%, and the small cap Russell 2000 sank 5.1%. Risk aversion typically leaves its initial mark at the “Periphery.”
Treasury market notwithstanding, inflation has become a problem in more ways than one. Consumer Prices (CPI) jumped 0.9% in June, versus expectations of a 0.5% increase. Year-over-year CPI was up 5.4% (expectations 4.9%), the strongest jump since 2008. And for analysts with issues with year-over-year “base-effects”, consumer inflation was up 3.3% in only five months. Core CPI also gained 0.9% for the month, with a 4.5% y-o-y increase. Producer Prices rose a data series record 7.3% y-o-y. Import Prices jumped 1% for the month and 11.2% y-o-y. University of Michigan one-year Inflation Expectations rose to 4.8%, the high since the summer of 2008. Also, at 4.8%, the New York Fed’s survey of one-year inflation expectations jumped to the highest level in data back to 2013.

To this point, inflation has not been an issue for the markets. It has become a problem for millions of Americans. For the institution of the Federal Reserve, it’s a metastasizing malignancy.

I understand why each Fed official sticks tightly with the party line “inflation will be transitory.” They don’t want to rattle the markets with thoughts of a traditional tightening cycle. And I think I understand why they adopted their framework aiming for a period of above target inflation – and why they swore off responding to incipient inflationary pressures. Again, they sought to retain flexibility to remain highly accommodative monetary policy, ensuring financial conditions would remain exceptionally loose (and markets high).
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Transitory Inflation Turning Into an Inflationary Spiral

Transitory Inflation Turning Into an Inflationary Spiral

Consumer prices have been rising precipitously this year. If you annualize the Consumer Price Index through the first five months of 2021, you get a CPI increase of over 6%. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell continues to push the narrative that inflation is transitory, but not everybody buys into this storyline. On the Wolf Street Report, Financial Analyst Wolf Richter said Powell’s temporary inflation is turning into an “inflation spiral.”

Richter said some measure of inflation will likely tick down in the months ahead, but to steal Powell’s term, the relief will be transitory and only serve to offer false hope before inflation starts rising again.

The first bout of inflation always looks temporary. But during those first bouts of inflation, that’s when the triggers of persistent inflation, namely the inflationary mindset and inflation expectations are being unleashed.”

The markets seem increasingly skeptical of Powell’s insistence that inflation is transitory. Last week, the IMF warned of a “sustained” inflation rise in the United States. Many people are starting to talk about the Fed tightening monetary policy sooner rather than later to fight rising prices and worry this could cause a slowdown in the economic recovery. But Peter Schiff says the markets are bracing for the wrong impact. The Fed won’t fight inflation because it can’t. There is no way to tighten monetary policy without collapsing the economy.

It’s not that inflation is going to turn out to be not transitory and therefore the Fed is going to fight it,” Schiff said. “It’s that inflation is not transitory and the Fed is not going to fight it. And because the Fed is not going to fight the non-transitory inflation, it’s actually going to end up getting much worse than people think.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

U.S. Inflation Is Highest in 13 Years as Prices Surge 5%

U.S. Inflation Is Highest in 13 Years as Prices Surge 5%

The rapid rise in consumer prices in May reflected a surge in demand and shortages of labor and materials

The U.S. economy’s rebound from the pandemic is driving the biggest surge in inflation in nearly 13 years, with consumer prices rising in May by 5% from a year ago.

The Labor Department said last month’s increase in the consumer-price index was the largest since August 2008, when the reading rose 5.4%. The core-price index, which excludes the often-volatile categories of food and energy, jumped 3.8% in May from the year before—the largest increase for that reading since June 1992.

Consumers are seeing higher prices for many of their purchases, particularly big-ticket items such as vehicles. Prices for used cars and trucks leapt 7.3% from the previous month, driving one-third of the rise in the overall index. The indexes for furniture, airline fares and apparel also rose sharply in May.

A separate reading showed the U.S. labor market continued to heal from the pandemic, with initial claims for unemployment benefits falling to another pandemic low.

May’s jump in prices extends a trend that accelerated this spring amid widespread Covid-19 vaccinations, relaxed business restrictions, trillions of dollars in federal pandemic relief programs and ample household savings—all of which have stoked demand for Americans to spend and travel more.

Overall prices jumped at a 9.7% annualized rate over the three months ended in May. On a month-to-month basis, overall prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6% and core prices rose 0.7%.

The annual inflation measurements are being boosted by comparisons with figures from last year during pandemic-related lockdowns, when prices plummeted because of collapsing demand for many goods and services. This so-called base effect is expected to push up inflation readings significantly in May and June, dwindling into the fall.

Compared with two years ago, overall prices rose a more muted 2.5% in May.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pay More, Get Less: Consumer Income & Spending Chewed Up by Red-Hot Inflation

Pay More, Get Less: Consumer Income & Spending Chewed Up by Red-Hot Inflation

Inflation ate my homework?

You saw this coming after today’s release of the Personal Consumption Expenditure inflation index. “Core PCE” inflation, which excludes food and energy – the lowest lowball inflation index the US offers and which the Fed uses to track its inflation target – spiked by 6.4% annualized for the past three months. In May alone it rose by 0.5% from April.

Consumers got some remaining stimmies and extra unemployment checks and other stimulus funds from the government in May, which still puffed up their income, but less than in prior months. Consumers then spent this income in a heroic manner. But inflation ate a chunk out of their spending in May, and adjusted for inflation, it fell.

Adjusted for inflation, “real” consumer income from all sources fell 2.4% in May from April, and was down 1.1% from May last year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis today. Not adjusted for inflation, consumer income fell 2.0%. Each of the three waves of stimmies triggered a glorious WTF spike in income. Those stimmies are now petering out, but consumers are still receiving other payments from the federal government, including special unemployment benefits:

How this bout of inflation, the highest since the early 1980s, is starting to add up month by month, inexorably, and cumulatively, is depicted in the chart below. It tracks personal income from all sources, adjusted for inflation (red line) and not adjusted for inflation (green line), both expressed as an index set at 100 for January 2019. Note the sharply widening gap between the two lines. That’s the effect of inflation. I’m going track it that way going forward:

Inflation ate my homework?

American consumers are still trying to spend heroic amounts of money as fast as they can – they just didn’t keep up with inflation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Transitory Inflation Takes Hold of the Economy – How Long Will It Last?

Just a couple of weeks ago, Bloomberg reported that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sold investors on the idea that rising inflation wasn’t going to last. Officially, as of May 2021, inflation had risen 5%, the highest since August 2008.

Here’s how we know investors bought it: while the CPI is running at 5%, the yield on the 10-year Treasury languishes around 1.5%. For comparison, back in 2008, the 10-year Treasury yield stayed above 3.5% from January through November (and even broke 4% on a few occasions).

Bond buyers do not want interest rates to rise. A 10-year bond yielding 1.5% looks pretty pitiful if interest rates rise to, say, 3.5% (like back in 2008). So clearly bond investors aren’t expecting interest rates to rise in response to this little blip of inflation.

Maybe you remember the specific term Powell used to describe a temporary period of excessive inflation?

“Transitory.”

Whew, that’s a relief! At least we won’t have to tolerate this way-over-target inflation situation forever.

Today’s inflation: how high is too high?

We know that real-world inflation is somewhere between 9-12%, depending on which Federal Reserve methodology is used to calculate it. Either way, it’s quite high.

That’s right, we can get a closer look at the realities of inflation using methods developed and employed by the Federal Reserve itself.

In the 1980s, the Fed was aware that Americans spent money to maintain their standard of living (in other words, your level of income, comforts and services like healthcare you purchase). Official inflation calculations took this into account.

Using the 1980s formula, you can see how today’s Fed “official inflation” stacks up on the chart below:

If you thought 5% inflation was bad, 13% is much worse.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How to Buffer the Fallout from America’s Third World Death Spiral

How to Buffer the Fallout from America’s Third World Death Spiral

“What the hell?!” – President Joe Biden, June 16, 2021

Out of Control

American workers are trying to make their way in an economy that’s rigged against them.  We made this claim many years ago.  Today, for fun and for free, we revisit this assertion…starting with the latest from those doing the rigging.

This week, after a two day meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released their statement.  Nothing material changed.  The Fed will continue to hold the federal funds rate near zero.  The Fed will also continue to create at least $120 billion per month from thin air to buy Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.

Bond yields spiked and the price of gold dropped because 13 Fed officials now plot dots that project two hikes to the federal funds rate in 2023.  Fed Chair Jay Powell also mentioned the Fed is “talking about talking about” bond tapering.  These technocrats likely know – though they won’t admit – they’ve already lost control.

Consumer price inflation is ‘officially’ rising at a 5 percent annualized rate.  However, the ‘unofficial’ rate of consumer price inflation, as calculated using methodologies in place in 1980, is about 13 percent.  This rate of inflation is remarkably destructive to household budgets.

‘Talking about talking about’ tapering and telegraphing federal funds rate increases some two years from now will do little to contain consumer price inflation.  The fact is, it has already veered out of control.  We expect gas prices to top $5 per gallon in California this summer.  Many Americans are not prepared for sustained, unrelenting price inflation.

Here’s the hard, back of the napkin math they are facing…

Sour Grapes

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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