Wednesday, July 12, 2023

"See, I Told You It Was Transitory!"

Not me, we started talking about the current round of inflation in December 2020* and don't think we've yet to see the high print for this decade, let alone this century. 

Here's the latest report thumbnailed by Trading Economics (also on blogroll at right) as well as the monthly headline prints:

The annual inflation rate in the US slowed to 3% in June of 2023, the lowest since March of 2021 and compared to 4% in May and expectations of 3.1%. The slowdown is partly due to a high base effect from last year when a surge in energy and food prices pushed the headline inflation rate to 1981-highs of 9.1%. Energy cost slumped 16.7% (vs -11.7% in May), with prices falling 36.6% for fuel oil, 26.5% for gasoline, and 18.6% for utility gas service. Electricity prices increased by 5.4%. Also, inflation slowed for food (5.7% vs 6.7% in May) and shelter (7.8% vs 8%). Smaller price increases were also recorded for new vehicles (4.1% vs 4.7%), apparel (3.1% vs 35%), and transportation services (8.2% vs 10.2%). The cost of medical services was down 0.8% and prices of used cars and trucks declined 5.2%. The core inflation rate dropped to 4.8%, the lowest since October of 2021....

....MUCH MORE, they go on to point out that though core inflation dropped from 5.3% it was still running at 4.8% in June.


*We've been saying  Sic Transit Gloria Mundi,
Everything is transitory. Thus passes the glory of the world,

For a couple years now. Literally.

In more carefree days gone by, we posted Sic Transit Gloria Monday and Sic Transit Gloria Money.

And just so you know we're no inflationistas-come-lately, we got lucky in December 2020 because we watch commodities, including food, prices.

December 29, 2020
St. Louis Fed: Food Prices As An Indicator Of Future Inflation
An interesting commentary, especially in light of the generations of Econ profs admonishing against putting much weight on headline inflation, as food and energy prices are volatile and should be stripped out to reveal core CPI and PPI trends.

From the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, January 1, 2002:.... 

We followed up on May 27, 2021:

"St. Louis Fed: Food Prices As An Indicator Of Future Inflation"

We first posted this paper on December 29, 2020 as a test of the thesis. At the time the UN's FAO Food Price Index had printed higher for six consecutive months. The correlation with coming CPI prices apparently held as we saw headline prints of 1.4% in the February report (January data), 1.7% YoY in March, 2.6% YoY in the April 13 report, and 4.2% earlier this month.

The FAO Food Price Index has now risen for eleven consecutive months. The month of May has been bearish for row crops so we will get to see if the correlations hold and/or see what lag/lead times might be. Remember, this is a test. Your mileage may vary. Close cover before striking...

The reference was repeated on September 6, 2021; and March 7 2022, interspersed with a hundred other inflation posts including September 14, 2021's:

CPI Rate of Increase Dips, Cheese Futures Unchanged

As scribblers around the world try to fit this morning's report into their preferred storylines, we're going to go with a kicky fromage fort because for some asinine reason I was looking at CME cheese futures when the Bureau of Labor Statistics made the release:

"CPI for all items rises 0.3% in August; gasoline, food, shelter among indexes rising"  

And all I could think of was cheese dip. 

You'll need 225g of assorted hard and soft bits of cheese, a clove of garlic, a bottle of white wine (60 ml for the recipe and the rest for you and yours)......

Wait, where was I? BLS?....

Here's the July 12, 2023 release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics including the summary table and links to the deep dive tables.