If gasoline prices remain where they are or continue to rise, Powell will be just plain wrong about inflation being transitory. This is what to expect if gas prices were to flatline at this level through December. Unless most of the other components of inflation were to nosedive, CPI will remain well above 2% for the remainder of the year.
Persistent enough for you, Mr. Powell?
But it doesn’t matter. At least not yet. Although the (flawed) CPI data is more relevant to almost everybody, the Fed focuses on PCE, which mutes the reported inflation even more than CPI. March PCE is due out tomorrow, and should continue not to alarm anyone.
In addition, the blowout 3%+ April CPI won’t be reported until May 12. The Fed might roll the dice and leave prices where they are, hoping that they can control the fallout from truly alarming numbers.
Or, we could see some preventative price action in the futures starting as soon as Sunday. The third option, of course, is the good old “miscalculation” of oil/gas prices, resulting in a CPI print that’s not so scary. They’ve done it plenty of times before.
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