Recent inflation figures should not be ignored

Link: https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/559121-recent-inflation-figures-should-not-be-ignored

Excerpt:

The sharp increase in consumer prices this Spring may be a blip but may also be a sign that inflation is returning as a chronic problem. For those of us who can accurately recall the 1970s economy, it is a frightening prospect. Everyone else would benefit from reading contemporaneous news coverage.

Recent events call into question pronouncements of the leading Modern Monetary Theorists who thought that the U.S. could sustain much larger deficits without triggering major hikes in the cost of living. Instead, it appears that the traditional rules of public finance still hold: deficit spending financed by Federal Reserve money creation is inflationary.

Analogies between today’s situation and the 1970s are not quite on target. By the early 70s, inflation was well underway. Instead, we should be drawing lessons from the year 1965, when price inflation began to take off. Prior to that year, inflation seemed to be under control with annual CPI growth ranging from 1.1 percent to 1.5 percent annually between 1960 and 1964 — not unlike the years prior to this one.

Author(s): Marc Joffe

Publication Date: 18 June 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

A More Hawkish Federal Reserve — and Federal Trade Commission

Link: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/06/a-more-hawkish-federal-reserve-and-federal-trade-commission/

Excerpt:

For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve has bucked investor expectations and taken a more hawkish policy stance. After months of projecting near-zero interest rates through 2023, yesterday the Federal Open Market Committee forecast two rate hikes by the end of 2023. With consumer prices and spending rising in tandem of late, the revised projections are a tacit admission that recent inflation may not be as transitory as the Fed has maintained.

“Is there a risk that inflation will be higher than we think? Yes,” said chair Jay Powell. The ten-year Treasury yield increased roughly 80 basis points to 1.57 percent after the press conference.

But the Fed’s revised policy outlook was not matched by an increased medium-term inflation forecast. The central bank continues to expect an average inflation rate of 2.1 percent over the next three years. Goldman Sachs’s macro researchers interpret that to mean that “the FOMC sees the 2021 inflation overshoot, which will bring the average inflation rate since the recession began above 2 percent, as largely sufficient to accomplish its averaging goal.”

Ever since the Fed adopted an average inflation target last summer, markets have been left guessing as to the time horizon over which the Fed would target 2 percent. Yesterday’s projections suggest it will be two to three years.

Author(s):DANIEL TENREIRO

Publication Date: 17 June

Publication Site: National Review