Finally Some Good News On The Inflation Front

Interest Rates Peter Carstensen 10 Aug

Finally Some Good News On The Inflation Front

It was widely expected that US consumer price inflation would decelerate in July, reflecting the decline in energy prices that peaked in early June. The US CPI was unchanged last month following its 1.3% spike in June. This reduced the year-over-year inflation rate to 8.5% from a four-decade high of 9.1%. Oil prices have fallen to roughly US$90.00 a barrel, returning it to the level posted before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This has taken gasoline prices down sharply, a decline that continued thus far in August. Key commodity prices have fallen sharply, shown in the chart below, although the recent decline in the agriculture spot index has not shown up yet on grocery store shelves. US food costs jumped 1.1% in July, taking the yearly rate to 10.9%, its highest level since 1979.

The biggest surprise was the decline in core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices. The shelter index continued to rise but did post a smaller increase than the prior month, increasing 0.5 percent in July compared to 0.6 percent in June. The rent index rose 0.7 percent in July, and the owners’ equivalent rent index rose 0.6 percent.

Travel-related prices declined last month. The index for airline fares fell sharply in July, decreasing 7.8%. Hotel prices continued to drop, falling 2.7% on the heels of a similar decrease in June. Rental car prices fell as well from historical highs earlier this cycle.

Bottom Line

The expectation is that the softening in inflation will give the Fed some breathing room. Fed officials have said they want to see months of evidence that prices are cooling, especially in the core gauge. They’ll have another round of monthly CPI and jobs reports before their next policy meeting on Sept. 20-21.

Treasury yields slid across the curve on the news this morning while the S&P 500 was higher and the US dollar plunged. Traders now see a 50-basis-point increase next month as more likely than 75. Next Tuesday, August 16, the July CPI will be released in Canada. If the data show a dip in Canadian inflation, as I expect, that could open the door for a 50 bps rise (rather than 75 bps) in the Bank of Canada rate when they meet again on September 7. That is particularly important because, with one more policy rate hike, we are on the precipice of hitting trigger points for fixed payment variable rate mortgages booked since March 2020, when the prime rate was only 2.45%. The lower the rate hike, the fewer the number of mortgages falling into that category.

The source of this article is from https://sherrycooper.com/articles/finally-some-good-news-on-the-inflation-front/

A Super-Sized Rate Hike, Signalling More To Come – Economic Insights with Dr. Sherry Cooper

Latest News Peter Carstensen 15 Jul

Bank of Canada Shocks With 100 bps Rate Hike.
A Super-Sized Rate Hike, Signalling More To Come

Published by Sherry Cooper

The Governing Council of the Bank of Canada raised its target for the overnight policy rate by a full percentage point to 2-1/2%. The Bank is also continuing its policy of quantitative tightening (QT), reducing its holdings of Government of Canada bonds, which puts additional upward pressure on longer-term interest rates.

In its press release this morning, the Bank said that “inflation in Canada is higher and more persistent than the Bank expected in its April Monetary Policy Report (MPR), and will likely remain around 8% in the next few months… While global factors such as the war in Ukraine and ongoing supply disruptions have been the biggest drivers, domestic price pressures from excess demand are becoming more prominent. More than half of the components that make up the CPI are now rising by more than 5%.”

The Bank is particularly concerned that inflation pressures will become entrenched. Consumer and business surveys have recently suggested that inflation expectations are rising and are expected to be higher for longer. Wage inflation has accelerated to 5.2% in the June labour Force Survey. The unemployment rate has fallen to a record-low 4.9%, with job vacancy rates hitting a record high in Ontario and Alberta.

Central banks worldwide are aggressively hiking interest rates, and growth is slowing. “In the United States, high inflation and rising interest rates contribute to a slowdown in domestic demand. China’s economy is being held back by waves of restrictive measures to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. Oil prices remain high and volatile. The Bank expects global economic growth to slow to about 3½% this year and 2% in 2023 before strengthening to 3% in 2024.”

Further excess demand is evident in the Canadian economy. “With strong demand, businesses are passing on higher input and labour costs by raising prices. Consumption is robust, led by a rebound in spending on hard-to-distance services. Business investment is solid, and exports are being boosted by elevated commodity prices. The Bank estimates that GDP grew by about 4% in the second quarter. Growth is expected to slow to about 2% in the third quarter as consumption growth moderates and housing market activity pulls back following unsustainable strength during the pandemic.”

In the July Monetary Policy Report, released today, the Bank published its forecasts for Canada’s economy to grow by 3.5% in 2022–in line with consensus expectations–1.75% in 2023 and 2.5% in 2024. Some economists are already forecasting weaker growth next year, in line with a moderate recession. The Bank has not gone that far yet.

According to the Bank of Canada, “economic activity will slow as global growth moderates, and tighter monetary policy works its way through the economy. This, combined with the resolution of supply disruptions, will bring demand and supply back into balance and alleviate inflationary pressures. Global energy prices are also projected to decline. The July outlook has inflation starting to come back down later this year, easing to about 3% by the end of next year and returning to the 2% target by the end of 2024.”

Bank of Canada Overnight Rate
Bottom Line
Today’s Bank of Canada reports confirmed that the Governing Council continues to judge that interest rates will need to rise further, and “the pace of increases will be guided by the Bank’s ongoing assessment of the economy and inflation.” Once again, the Bank asserted it is “resolute in its commitment to price stability and will continue to take action as required to achieve the 2% inflation target.”

At 2.5%, the policy rate is at the midpoint of its ‘neutral’ range. This is the level at which monetary policy is deemed to be neither expansionary nor restrictive. Governor Macklem said he expects the Bank to hike the target to 3% or slightly higher. Before today’s actions, markets had expected the year-end overnight rate at 3.5%.

https://dominionlending.ca/economic-insights/bank-of-canada-shocks-with-100-bps-rate-hike