Fed's Favored Inflation Measure May Show Softer Rise Than CPI Suggests

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for January revealed an unexpected surge, with core prices, excluding food and energy, climbing by 0.4% and surpassing many predictions. This uptick was largely driven by a 0.7% increase in core services, marking the most significant rise since September 2022. However, this spike in the CPI might not fully translate to the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge, the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index. Key differences between these measures, such as the lower weighting of shelter costs and distinct calculations for medical care services in the PCE, mean inflation rates reported by the core CPI could remain higher than those shown by the core PCE index.

Read more ...

January Sees U.S. Wholesale Prices Increase, Highlighting Ongoing Inflation Challenges

Wholesale inflation in the U.S. experienced an uptick in January, indicating persistent inflationary pressures within the economy. According to the Labor Department, the producer price index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level before it impacts consumers, increased by 0.3% from December to January, reversing a slight decline from the previous month. Year-over-year, this index saw a moderate rise of 0.9% in January. The ongoing issue of inflation has become a significant concern for the public and is playing a critical role in President Joe Biden's re-election campaign. Despite measures of inflation decreasing from their peak and approaching the Federal Reserve’s target, the average prices remain significantly higher than when President Biden assumed office, with a roughly 19% increase, causing frustration among many Americans.

Read more ...

Economic Recession and Yen Depreciation Push Japan Behind Germany

Japan has relinquished its position as the world's third-largest economy to Germany, sliding into recession amid challenges such as a depreciating yen and demographic issues like an aging and decreasing population. Despite achieving a 1.9% growth in 2023 in nominal terms (not adjusted for inflation), Japan's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in dollar terms amounted to $4.2 trillion, falling short of Germany's $4.5 trillion. The depreciation of the yen, which saw nearly a fifth of its value eroded against the dollar over the last two years—including a 7% drop last year alone—has been a critical factor, as it diminishes the value of repatriated earnings from exports.

Read more ...

Gold Climbs Back Above $2,000 as U.S. Retail Sales Falter

Gold surpassed the $2,000 mark, following disappointing U.S. retail sales figures that led to a decrease in the dollar value and Treasury yields. This turnaround in the market has been a positive development for investors in gold, with the price of spot gold reaching an intraday high of $2,008.18 per ounce. Despite a slight pullback, gold managed to maintain its position above the $2,000 threshold in a fluctuating market environment. The upcoming release of the U.S. Producer Price Index (PPI) is eagerly awaited, as it is expected to shed light on the current state of inflation and potentially influence future interest rate decisions.

Read more ...