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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly Consumer Price Index report on June 12th 2019, for the 12 months through May 2019.

Annual Inflation is Down
  • Annual inflation in May was 1.79% down from 2.00% in April and 1.86% in March.
  • CPI Index was 256.092 up from 255.548 in April and 254.202 in March.
  • Monthly Inflation for May was  0.21%, April was 0.53%, March was 0.56%, May 2018 was 0.42%.
  • Next release July 11th
  • Quantitative Tightening (QT) continues check it out here.
  • What is Quantitative Tightening?

Annual inflation for the 12 months ending in May was 1.79% (i.e. below the FED target of 2.00%) down from 2.00% in April. But still above the 1.52% of February. March was 1.86%.  Inflation peaked at 2.95% in July 2018.

Monthly Inflation:

According to the BLS commissioner’s report, “The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.8 percent before seasonal adjustment.”

Since the peak in July 2018 the inflation rate began trending down from the top of the downward sloping channel toward the midline but March and April displayed a counter-trend rally with it moving back toward the top of the channel.  May, however, had the inflation rate falling back below toward the mid-line of the channel. Read the full commentary here.

Current Inflation Chart

If we look at the shorter term chart we can see that over the last ten years there hasn’t been a decisive trend in either direction. As a matter of fact it looks more like it has gotten less volatile and is settling down in the middle of the road at the 2.00% FED target. Is it possible that after 100 years the FED has finally gotten the hang of managing inflation? Probably not, but…

Federal Reserve Actions

The Federal Reserve took a more active part in 2018 than it had in recent years both in raising interest rates and in eliminating the debt it acquired during its Quantitative Easing thus began its Quantitative Tightening (QT). QT continued throughout May despite its previous proclamations that it was going to follow a more easy money policy . See more information on Quantitative Tightening.

Quantitative Tightening (QT) Begins

    For more info See NYSE ROC and MIP.

Seasonally Adjusted Inflation Table

From the table above we can see that on a monthly Seasonally adjusted basis most items were actually negative. Used Cars and Trucks were the biggest losers at -1.4%. On an annual basis apparel is down -3.1% while food away from home is up 2.9%

Inflation Forecast

See our Moore Inflation Predictor to see our current projections.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Monthly Inflation Rates
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2016 0.17% 0.08% 0.43% 0.47% 0.41% 0.33% (0.16%) 0.09% 0.24% 0.12% (0.16%) 0.03%
2017 0.58% 0.31% 0.08% 0.30% 0.09% 0.09% (0.07%) 0.30% 0.53% (0.06%) 0.00% (0.06%)
2018 0.54% 0.45% 0.23% 0.40% 0.42% 0.16% 0.01% 0.06% 0.12% 0.18% (0.33%) (0.32%)
2019 0.19% 0.42% 0.56% 0.53% 0.21%

See: Monthly Inflation Rate for more information and a complete table of Unadjusted Monthly Rates.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Annual Inflation (by Category)
Category Annual
All Items 1.79%
Food 2.0%
Energy -0.5%
All Items less Food and Energy 2.0%
Apparel -3.1%
New Vehicles 0.9%
Used Cars and Trucks 0.3%
Shelter 3.3%
Medical Care Services 2.8%
Transportation Services 1.1%
Regional Inflation Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces regional data. So if you are interested in more localized inflation information you can find it here.

AL AK AR AZ CA CT CO DC DE FL GA GU HI IA
ID IL IN KS KY LA MA MD ME MI MN MO MS MT
NC ND NE NH NJ NM NV NY OH OK OR PA PR RI
SC SC SD TX UT VA VI VT WI WA WI WV
Food and Energy Breakdown

The BLS publishes an index entitled “All items Less Food and Energy” which often causes people some confusion. It doesn’t mean they stopped including food and energy in the Consumer Price Index. It just means that they have broken them out so you can compare their increase to other components. For more info see What is Core Inflation?

Misery Index

The misery index as of  June 2019 (based on the most recent official government inflation and unemployment data for the 12 months ending in May)  is at 5.39% down from 5.60% in April. 

It had reached a low of 5.32% in February 2019. But it was 6.87% in July 2018 and 7.44% in February 2017 [Read More…]

NYSE Rate of Change (ROC)©

Unfortunately, after generating a buy signal in March the market has lost a bit of ground (less than 1%) but this puts the index and the moving average right on top of each other. So rather than getting a decisive cross we are getting mixed signals. This is very rare. Since 1990 it has never happened on a cross from below zero. The only similar situation happened in 2000 as the index moved from above zero to test the moving average and then began a series of failed tests ending in 2003. At this point we are not yet in that situation but cautious optimism is warranted.

See the NYSE ROC for more info.

NASDAQ Rate of Change (ROC)©

Hold Signal! NASDAQ- ROC is currently below the moving average. 

The ANNUAL rate of return for the NASDAQ ROC rebounded sharply in March to test its moving average… unfortunately it failed the test and remains below the moving average.

See NASDAQ ROC for more.

You Might Also Like:

From InflationData.com

Read more on UnemploymentData.com.

From Financial Trend Forecaster

From Elliott Wave University

From OptioMoney.com

From Your Family Finances

Read Full Article
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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly Consumer Price Index report on May 10th 2019, for the 12 months through April 2019.

Annual Inflation is Up
  • Annual inflation in April was 2.00% up from 1.86% in March.
  • CPI Index was 255.548 up from 254.202 in March.
  • Monthly Inflation for April was 0.53%, March was 0.56%, April 2018 was 0.40%.
  • Next release June 12th
  • Quantitative Tightening (QT) continues check it out here.
  • What is Quantitative Tightening?

Annual inflation for the 12 months ending in April  was at the FED target of 2.00% (a rare occurrence). It was Up from 1.52% in February and 1.86% in March but still below the  2.18% in November 2018.  Inflation peaked at 2.95% in July 2018.

Monthly Inflation:

According to the BLS commissioner’s report “In April, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.3 percent, seasonally adjusted; rising 2.0 percent over the year, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in April (SA); up 2.1 percent over the year (NSA). “

For several months now the inflation rate has been trending down from the top of the downward sloping channel to the midline but in the last two months it has changed direction and is moving back toward the top of the channel.  Read the full commentary here.

Current Inflation Chart

If we look at the shorter term chart we can see that over the last ten years there hasn’t been a decisive trend in either direction. As a matter of fact it looks more like it has gotten less volatile and is settling down in the middle of the road at the 2.00% FED target.

Federal Reserve Actions

The Federal Reserve took a more active part in 2018 than it had in recent years both in raising interest rates and in Quantitative Tightening (QT). QT continued throughout April. See more information on Quantitative Tightening.

Quantitative Tightening (QT) Begins

    For more info See NYSE ROC and MIP.

Seasonally Adjusted Inflation Table

From the table above we can see that on a monthly Seasonally adjusted basis the biggest gainer was Gasoline at 5.7%. Used Cars and Trucks on the other hand fell -1.3%.

Inflation Forecast

See our Moore Inflation Predictor to see our current projections.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Monthly Inflation Rates
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2016 0.17% 0.08% 0.43% 0.47% 0.41% 0.33% (0.16%) 0.09% 0.24% 0.12% (0.16%) 0.03%
2017 0.58% 0.31% 0.08% 0.30% 0.09% 0.09% (0.07%) 0.30% 0.53% (0.06%) 0.00% (0.06%)
2018 0.54% 0.45% 0.23% 0.40% 0.42% 0.16% 0.01% 0.06% 0.12% 0.18% (0.33%) (0.32%)
2019 0.19% 0.42% 0.56% 0.53%

See: Monthly Inflation Rate for more information and a complete table of Unadjusted Monthly Rates.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Annual Inflation (by Category)
Category Annual
All Items 2.00%
Food 1.8%
Energy 1.7%
All Items less Food and Energy 2.1%
Apparel -3.0%
New Vehicles 1.2%
Used Cars and Trucks 0.8%
Shelter 3.4%
Medical Care Services 2.3%
Transportation Services 1.1%

Note that on a monthly (seasonally adjusted) basis Energy was up 2.9% but on an annual non-adjusted basis it was up 1.7%.

Regional Inflation Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces regional data. So if you are interested in more localized inflation information you can find it here.

AL AK AR AZ CA CT CO DC DE FL GA GU HI IA
ID IL IN KS KY LA MA MD ME MI MN MO MS MT
NC ND NE NH NJ NM NV NY OH OK OR PA PR RI
SC SC SD TX UT VA VI VT WI WA WI WV
Food and Energy Breakdown

The BLS publishes an index entitled “All items Less Food and Energy” which often causes people some confusion. It doesn’t mean they stopped including food and energy in the Consumer Price Index. It just means that they have broken them out so you can compare their increase to other components. For more info see What is Core Inflation?

Misery Index

The misery index as of  May 2019 (based on the most recent official government inflation and unemployment data for the 12 months ending in April)  is at 5.60% down from 5.66% in March. 

It had reached a low of 5.32% in February 2019. But it was 6.87% in July 2018 and 7.44% in February 2017 [Read More…]

NYSE Rate of Change (ROC)©

Unfortunately, after generating a buy signal last month the market has lost a bit of ground (less than 1%) but this puts the index and the moving average right on top of each other. So rather than getting a decisive cross we are getting mixed signals. This is very rare. Since 1990 it has never happened on a cross from below zero. The only similar situation happened in 2000 as the index moved from above zero to test the moving average and then began a series of failed tests ending in 2003. At this point we are not yet in that situation but if the index crosses back below the zero line it would be a big warning sign that all is not well.

See the NYSE ROC for more info.

NASDAQ Rate of Change (ROC)©

Hold Signal! NASDAQ- ROC is currently below the moving average. 

The ANNUAL rate of return for the NASDAQ ROC rebounded sharply last month to test its moving average… unfortunately it failed the test and remains below the moving average.

See NASDAQ ROC for more.

You Might Also Like:

From InflationData.com

Read more on UnemploymentData.com.

From Financial Trend Forecaster

From Elliott Wave University

From OptioMoney.com

From Your Family Finances

Read more on InflationData.com.

Read Full Article
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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly Consumer Price Index report on April 10th 2019, for the 12 months through March 2019.

Annual Inflation is Up
  • Annual inflation in March was 1.86% up from 1.52% in February.
  • CPI Index was 254.202 in March up from 252.776 in February.
  • Monthly Inflation for March was 0.56%, in February monthly inflation was 0.42% and in March 2018 it was 0.23%.
  • Next release May 10th
  • We’ve added another bar to the Annual Inflation Rate Chart indicating Quantitative Tightening (QT) check it out here.
  • What is Quantitative Tightening?

Annual inflation peaked at 2.95% in July 2018 and fell steadily through February 2019, i.e. 2.18% in November, 1.91% in December, 1.55% in January, and 1.52% in February. However, in March it saw an uptick to 1.86%.

Monthly Inflation:

According to the BLS commissioner’s report, “In March, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted; rising 1.9 percent over the year, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in March (SA); up 2.0 percent over the year (NSA). ”

February levels were approaching the midline in the channel (i.e. the Long Term Linear Regression line) but in March the rate rebounded upward a bit. It remains below the top of the downward channel. Based on our two decimal place calculations the CPI-U was virtually unchanged going from 1.55% in January to 1.52% in February. However, March was up a bit to 1.86% and monthly inflation was 0.56% compared to last year’s 0.23%. Typically, monthly inflation is higher January through May and then it declines from there throughout the rest of the year. The lowest monthly inflation is typically during the last quarter (October through December) with June through September typically being moderate. Surprisingly, July came in negative in both 2016 and 2017 and at virtually zero in 2018. There was not a single negative July from 1950 through 2000 but there have been several since.

Federal Reserve Actions

The Federal Reserve took a more active part in 2018 than it had in recent years both in raising interest rates and in Quantitative Tightening (QT). QT continued throughout March.

See more information on Quantitative Tightening.

Quantitative Tightening (QT) Begins

For more info See NYSE ROC and MIP.

Seasonally Adjusted Inflation Table

From the table above we can see that on a monthly Seasonally adjusted basis the biggest gainer was “Energy Commodities and Gasoline at 6.2% and 6.5% respectively. Apparel on the other hand fell -1.9%.

Inflation Forecast

Last month we projected a sharply rising inflation rate with a max high of 1.85%. Inflation came in at 1.86%.

See our Moore Inflation Predictor to see our current projections.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Monthly Inflation Rates
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2016 0.17% 0.08% 0.43% 0.47% 0.41% 0.33% (0.16%) 0.09% 0.24% 0.12% (0.16%) 0.03%
2017 0.58% 0.31% 0.08% 0.30% 0.09% 0.09% (0.07%) 0.30% 0.53% (0.06%) 0.00% (0.06%)
2018 0.54% 0.45% 0.23% 0.40% 0.42% 0.16% 0.01% 0.06% 0.12% 0.18% (0.33%) (0.32%)
2019 0.19% 0.42% 0.56%

See: Monthly Inflation Rate for more information and a complete table of Unadjusted Monthly Rates.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Annual Inflation (by Category)
Category Annual
All Items 1.86%
Food 2.1%
Energy -0.4%
All Items less Food and Energy 2.0%
Apparel -2.2%
New Vehicles 0.7%
Used Cars and Trucks 0.4%
Shelter 3.4%
Medical Care Commodities -0.6%
Transportation Services 1.0%

Note that on a monthly (seasonally adjusted) basis Energy was up 3.5% but on an annual non-adjusted basis it was down -0.4%.

Regional Inflation Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces regional data. So if you are interested in more localized inflation information you can find it here.

AL AK AR AZ CA CT CO DC DE FL GA GU HI IA
ID IL IN KS KY LA MA MD ME MI MN MO MS MT
NC ND NE NH NJ NM NV NY OH OK OR PA PR RI
SC SC SD TX UT VA VI VT WI WA WI WV
Food and Energy Breakdown

The BLS publishes an index entitled “All items Less Food and Energy” which often causes people some confusion. It doesn’t mean they stopped including food and energy in the Consumer Price Index. It just means that they have broken them out so you can compare their increase to other components. For more info see What is Core Inflation?

Misery Index

The misery index as of  April 2019 (based on the most recent official government inflation and unemployment data for the 12 months ending in March)  is at 5.66% up from 5.32% in February, and 5.55% in January. But it was 5.81% in December, 5.88% in November and 6.22% in October and 5.98% in September.  It is well below the 6.60% in August and the 6.85% and  6.87% in July and June respectively.

[Read More…]

NYSE Rate of Change (ROC)©

The stock market has taken a beating over the couple of months in response to FED Tightening throughout 2018. But this month saw a major rebound in the NYSE and a new Buy signal on our ROC.
This month we discuss the FED actions, Reversals And Counter-trend Moves, and current Support and Resistance lines. Currently the NYSE ROC is  2.56% above year ago levels. But all of that gain has occurred in the last month i.e. 2.60% increase from March 11th to April 10th.

See the NYSE ROC for more info.

NASDAQ Rate of Change (ROC)©

The ANNUAL rate of return for the NASDAQ ROC rebounded sharply this month up to +12.26% for the previous 12 months.The monthly return was an asstounding 5.37% but the index hasn’t quite crossed above its moving average yet.

See NASDAQ ROC for more.

You Might Also Like:

From InflationData.com

Read more on UnemploymentData.com.

From Financial Trend Forecaster

From Elliott Wave University

From OptioMoney.com

From Your Family..

Read Full Article
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Inflation affects every consumer, business person and investor in some way or other. Inflation is one of the key factors that affect consumer prices, financial markets including Stocks, Bonds and Forex. As such, it is important for consumers, investors and traders to get a deeper understanding of what is inflation and what causes it.

What is Inflation?

Understanding inflation is often complicated by the fact that the cause and the effect are often muddled together in people’s minds due to the lazy way we often refer to inflation. The effect of inflation is what people see when they go shopping and see increases in the general price of goods and services. When the individual prices of just a few goods go up, that is not necessarily inflation it could simply be a supply or demand issue. But if many goods and services across the economy are rising in price we have what we call “price inflation”.

As we will see below price inflation is primarily caused by “monetary inflation” i.e. an increase in the money supply. The confusion comes in when we get lazy and fail to distinguish between monetary inflation and price inflation and simply refer to both as “inflation”.

For more information see What is inflation?

What causes Inflation?

There are five main sources of inflation:

1) Government/National/Public Debt

If governments spend more than they take in they must either borrow or print money out of thin air in order to cover their operating expenses. When a country borrows its debt increases. To raise the money required for debt repayments, the government may use one of several methods including raising taxes or printing more money. An increase in taxes to businesses will result in higher prices of goods and services for customers because businesses must pass on the increased burden of the corporate tax. Interestingly as a government borrows money it “monetizes” it which is one way the government “prints money”. And as we said above, increasing the money supply is the primary cause of price inflation.

2) Monetary and Fiscal Policy

By lowering interest rates and instituting Quantitative Easing (QE), the Central bank (or FED) can create an expansionary monetary environment to increase the money supply in the economy and create a liquidity surplus. When there is surplus liquidity money flows freely. When money flows freely most participants in the economy have greater purchasing power, and the aggregate demand increases and this creates an upward pressure on prices. Individuals may use the extra discretionary income to buy more nonessential items while businesses may make more capital investments, hire new employees, or improve employee compensation.

The most common form of expansionary policy is through the implementation of monetary policy. The U.S. Federal Reserve employs expansionary policies whenever it lowers the benchmark federal funds rate or discount rate, decreases required reserves for banks or buys Treasury bonds on the open market.

3) Increasing Consumer Confidence and Demand

When an economy is doing well, people have more money to spend, unemployment levels are lower and wages tend to increase. More liquidity in the economy means more demand for consumer goods. By the law of supply and demand, increased demand pushes prices of goods and services up. This is referred to as the demand-pull effect and it results in more inflation.

4) Increase in Input Costs

Manufacturers initially “eat” the increase in input costs (raw materials, labour, utilities) but eventually have to pass on the cost to consumers by increasing the price of finished goods. For instance, an increase in the price of wheat can push up the prices of wheat products like bread. A better example is the increase in the price of oil, which can have a significant impact on production costs and thus the retail prices of most goods in the economy. This type of inflation is called cost-push inflation because increased costs push up prices as opposed to where increased demand pulls up prices.

5) Currency Devaluation

Currency devaluation is the loss of value of a currency. As the quantity of a currency increases its value becomes “diluted” so each dollar buys less goods in the local market. However, if other currencies retain their value this creates an imbalance between the two countries and exports become less expensive to buyers using the stronger currency, so they buy more. The lower value of each dollar combined with increased demand for goods from abroad tends to increase the prices locally and this causes price inflation. Currency devaluation also results in the reduction of imports as the people with the weaker currency can’t afford to buy foreign goods denominated in the stronger currency.

Inflation and Forex Rates

As we’ve seen currency values and inflation go “hand-in-hand” as each currency’s value is based on its supply and also it’s demand from other countries. Ever since 1973, the U.S. has had an advantage due to the creation of the “Petrodollar“.  in 1973 Richard Nixon struck a deal with Saudi Arabia that they would denominate all oil sales in dollars and in exchange, the U.S. would supply weapons and protection to the Saudis. This system of requiring oil sales to be performed in dollars increased the demand for dollars (since everyone needs oil) and became known as the “Petrodollar”. These petrodollars not only increased demand for the U.S dollar but also allowed the U.S. to export its inflation as these dollars never return to the U.S. but instead are used strictly for foreign trade. However, most countries do not have that advantage, so if they print too many Rupees, Yen or Dinar the purchasing power of their currency  will fall and the Foreign Exchange (Forex) market will take that into account and its value compared to other currencies will fall as well. Another way of looking at it is that if you print too many Rupees not only will it buy less rice but it will buy fewer Dollars as well.

So higher inflation rates have negative effects on the value of a currency. The currency becomes weaker compared to other currencies which means it buys less of other currencies. Every investor dealing with international goods or services is affected by Forex rates. Businesses must take the value of all the currencies that they do business with into account. Otherwise, if they have expenses locked into a currency that is inflating while being paid in some other currency moving in the opposite direction they could get caught in a squeeze. Often large companies will trade currencies (Forex) to help balance this risk. Whether you trade commodities, stocks or currencies, if the currency you are using becomes weaker against another currency, then you need more of that currency to make your trade.

You might also like:

Read more on InflationData.com.

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Oil Price Inflation

This month we have updated the Crude Oil Inflation Chart which shows historical crude oil prices and also what they would be if you adjusted them for inflation as of February 2019. We have also updated the Annual Crude Oil Prices Table and the Monthly Crude Oil Prices Table both of which also show prices adjusted for inflation.  The nominal price of a barrel of oil was only $1.37 back in 1946 but the inflation adjusted price of oil was $18.92 per barrel.  (The nominal price is the price you would have actually paid at the time). The major peaks occurred in December 1979, October 1990, and June 2008 at $125.23, $65.68, and $145.93 respectively (all inflation adjusted to 2019 dollars). Another interesting item to note is that the inflation adjusted average price has been increasing. The average for the entire period from 1946 to present is $44.75 but the average since 1980 is $55.99 and the the average since 2000 is $64.66.  This may be the result of increased extraction costs as it becomes harder to find and requires much greater technology to get to it.

The red line on the chart shows Illinois Sweet Crude oil prices adjusted for inflation in February 2019 dollars. The black line indicates the nominal price (in other words the price you would have actually paid at the time). Current prices as of February 28th 2017 are $50.25 down significantly from recent highs but up from 2016 lows.

Historical Crude Oil Prices (Table) Oil Prices 1946-Present

The first table shows the Annual Average Crude Oil Price from 1946 to the present. Prices are adjusted for Inflation to February 2019 prices using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) as presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The second table presents the monthly average crude oil prices for Illinois Sweet Crude plus their inflation adjusted prices from 2011-2019.

Inflation adjusted oil prices reached an all-time low in 1998 (lower than the price in 1946)! And then just ten years later in June 2008 Oil prices were at the all time monthly high for crude oil (above the 1979-1980 prices) in real inflation adjusted terms (although not quite on an annual basis).

See also:

Read more on InflationData.com.

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly Consumer Price Index report on March 12th 2019, for the 12 months through February 2019.

Annual Inflation is Down (Slightly)
  • Annual inflation in February was down very slightly from January’s 1.55% to 1.52%
  • February’s CPI was 252.776 January’s CPI was 251.712 up from December’s CPI of 251.233, November was 252.038
  • Monthly Inflation for February was 0.42%, slightly below last February’s 0.45%. December was -0.32%, November was -0.33%.
  • Next release April 10th
  • We’ve added another bar to the Annual Inflation Rate Chart indicating Quantitative Tightening (QT) check it out here.

Annual inflation peaked at 2.95% in July 2018 (almost double the current rate) and was down to 2.18% in November, 1.91% in December, 1.55% in January, and 1.52% in February.  Monthly inflation was 0.42% in February 2019 down slightly from 0.45% in February 2018.

Monthly Inflation:

According to the BLS commissioner’s report, “In February, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis; rising 1.5 percent over the year, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in February (SA); up 2.1 percent over the year (NSA).”

Current levels are below the top of the downward channel and the short term direction appears to be down. Based on our two decimal place calculations the CPI-U was virtually unchanged going from 1.55% last month to 1.52% this month. This shows how small the change actually was however because the BLS rounds to one decimal point their numbers went from 1.6% last month to 1.5% this month making the change appear slightly larger than it actually was.

However, monthly inflation was still significant at 0.42% down slightly from last year’s 0.45%.

Oil Price inflation

This month we have updated the Crude Oil Inflation Chart which shows historical crude oil prices and also what they would be if you adjusted them for inflation as of February 2019. We have also updated the Annual Crude Oil Prices Table and the Monthly Crude Oil Prices Table both of which also show prices adjusted for inflation.

Federal Reserve Actions

The Federal Reserve took a more active part in 2018 than it had in recent years both in raising interest rates and in Quantitative Tightening (QT).

Quantitative Tightening (QT) Begins

For more info See NYSE ROC and MIP.

Seasonally Adjusted Inflation Table

From the table above we can see that on a monthly Seasonally adjusted basis the biggest gainer was Fuel Oil at 2.6% after being down significantly the previous month.Interestingly, Utility “piped” gas was down -2.4%.

The lowest monthly inflation is typically during the last quarter (October through December) with June through September typically being moderate. Surprisingly, July came in negative in both 2016 and 2017. There was not a single negative July from 1950 through 2000 but there have been several since.

Inflation Forecast

Last month we projected a slightly falling inflation rate inflation didn’t quite fall as much as we projected. We projected that it would fall to at least 1.5% but instead it only fell to 1.52%.

See our Moore Inflation Predictor to see our current projections.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Monthly Inflation Rates
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2016 0.17% 0.08% 0.43% 0.47% 0.41% 0.33% (0.16%) 0.09% 0.24% 0.12% (0.16%) 0.03%
2017 0.58% 0.31% 0.08% 0.30% 0.09% 0.09% (0.07%) 0.30% 0.53% (0.06%) 0.00% (0.06%)
2018 0.54% 0.45% 0.23% 0.40% 0.42% 0.16% 0.01% 0.06% 0.12% 0.18% (0.33%) (0.32%)
2019 0.19% 0.42%

See: Monthly Inflation Rate for more information and a complete table of Unadjusted Monthly Rates.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Annual Inflation (by Category)
Category Annual
All Items 1.52%
Food 2.0%
Energy -5.0%
All Items less Food and Energy 2.1%
Apparel -0.8%
New Vehicles 0.3%
Used Cars and Trucks 1.1%
Shelter 3.4%
Medical Services 2.4%
Transportation Services 1.1%
Regional Inflation Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces regional data. So if you are interested in more localized inflation information you can find it here.

AL AK AR AZ CA CT CO DC DE FL GA GU HI IA
ID IL IN KS KY LA MA MD ME MI MN MO MS MT
NC ND NE NH NJ NM NV NY OH OK OR PA PR RI
SC SC SD TX UT VA VI VT WI WA WI WV
Food and Energy Breakdown

The BLS publishes an index entitled “All items Less Food and Energy” which often causes people some confusion. It doesn’t mean they stopped including food and energy in the Consumer Price Index. It just means that they have broken them out so you can compare their increase to other components. In this chart we can see the effects of food, energy and all other items on the total index. For more info see What is Core Inflation?

Misery Index

The misery index as of  March 2019 (based on the most recent official government inflation and unemployment data for the 12 months ending in February)  is at 5.32% down from 5.55% in January and 5.81% in December and from 5.88% in November.

[Read More…]

NYSE Rate of Change (ROC)©

The stock market has taken a beating over the couple of months.in response to
FED Tightening throughout 2018.
This month we discuss the FED actions, Reversals And Counter-trend Moves, and current Support and Resistance lines.

See the NYSE ROC for more info.

NASDAQ Rate of Change (ROC)©

The ANNUAL rate of return for the NASDAQ ROC rebounded sharply last month up to +4.08% for the previous 12 months. Unfortunately, this month it has fallen back to -0.40% annual return. However it actually had a 1.86% monthly increase but because March 2018 had an 8.36% increase this year appears to be a decline.

See NASDAQ ROC for more.

You Might Also Like:

From InflationData.com

Read more on UnemploymentData.com.

From Financial Trend Forecaster

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly Consumer Price Index report on February 13th 2019, for the 12 months through January 2019.

Annual Inflation is Down
  • Annual inflation in January was 1.55% down from 1.91% in December and 2.18% in November.
  • January’s CPI was 251.712 up from December’s CPI of 251.233, November was 252.038
    Note: January’s CPI was only slightly above the 251.588 back in May.
  • Monthly Inflation for January was 0.19%, December was -0.32% virtually identical to November’s -0.33%.
  • Next release March 12th

We’ve added another bar to the Annual Inflation Rate Chart indicating Quantitative Tightening (QT) check it out here. Typically the monthly inflation rate is highest during the first quarter (January through March) with April and May often being among the high months but not always. So with “only” 0.19% inflation for January 2019 is starting out with very low inflation. (January 2018 was 0.54% and January 2017 was 0.58%)

Monthly Inflation:

According to the BLS commissioner’s report, “In January, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers was unchanged on a seasonally adjusted basis; rising 1.6 percent over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in January (SA); up 2.2 percent over the year (NSA)… The energy index declined for the third consecutive month, offsetting increases in the indexes for all items less food and energy and for food.”

In other words: On a monthly basis Seasonally Adjusted prices did not change from December to January but on an unadjusted basis they rose 0.19%.

When we have a negative monthly inflation rate that is deflationary on a monthly basis but disinflationary on an annual basis until the annual number turns negative as well then it becomes deflationary on an annual basis as well. So what happened in 2018 (and frequently happens in the 4th quarter) is that the last two months of the year (i.e. November and December) were negative, i.e. disinflationary, thus the disinflationary months of November and December wiped out all the inflation back through somewhere between April and May. But January’s inflation has brought the index back to where it was between May (251.588) and June (251.989).

Since the CPI is an index, it measures price levels. Generally as prices creep up the index goes up. If the index goes down it means that overall prices are going down (not necessarily all prices just the weighted average of all prices). The CPI-U index was 250.546 in April and prices increased so that the index was 251.588 in May and then increased incrementally up to 252.885 in October. In November the index fell to 252.038. And it fell again in December to 251.233. That means that actual prices at the end of December were somewhere between the April and May levels. But at the end of January prices were 1.55% higher compared to year ago levels.

The commissioner also reported that “Real average hourly earnings increased 1.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, from January 2018 to January 2019. The change in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in a 1.9-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.”

“Real earnings” are not the actual dollars earned but are instead dollars earned adjusted for inflation. So what this is saying is that in spite of inflation actual earning are buying 1.7% more stuff this year and workers are working a bit longer than last year so the average consumer is better off than they were a year ago.

Federal Reserve Actions

The Federal Reserve has taken a more active part in 2018 than it has in recent years both in raising interest rates and in Quantitative Tightening (QT).

Quantitative Tightening (QT) Begins

For more info See NYSE ROC and MIP.

Seasonally Adjusted Inflation Table

From the table above we can see that on a monthly Seasonally adjusted basis the biggest gainer is Apparel while Gasoline was actually down -10.1% in a single month.

The lowest monthly inflation is typically during the last quarter (October through December) with June through September typically being moderate. Surprisingly, July came in negative in both 2016 and 2017. There was not a single negative July from 1950 through 2000 but there have been several since.

Inflation Forecast

Last month we projected a sharply falling inflation rate inflation didn’t quite fall as much as we projected.

See our Moore Inflation Predictor to see our current projections.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Monthly Inflation Rates
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2016 0.17% 0.08% 0.43% 0.47% 0.41% 0.33% (0.16%) 0.09% 0.24% 0.12% (0.16%) 0.03%
2017 0.58% 0.31% 0.08% 0.30% 0.09% 0.09% (0.07%) 0.30% 0.53% (0.06%) 0.00% (0.06%)
2018 0.54% 0.45% 0.23% 0.40% 0.42% 0.16% 0.01% 0.06% 0.12% 0.18% (0.33%) (0.32%)
2019 0.19%

See: Monthly Inflation Rate for more information and a complete table of Unadjusted Monthly Rates.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Annual Inflation (by Category)
Category Annual
All Items 1.55%
Food 1.6%
Energy -4.8%
All Items less Food and Energy 2.2%
Apparel 0.1%
New Vehicles 0.0%
Used Cars and Trucks 1.6%
Shelter 3.2%
Medical Services 2.4%
Transportation Services 2.0%
Regional Inflation Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces regional data. So if you are interested in more localized inflation information you can find it here.

AL AK AR AZ CA CT CO DC DE FL GA GU HI IA
ID IL IN KS KY LA MA MD ME MI MN MO MS MT
NC ND NE NH NJ NM NV NY OH OK OR PA PR RI
SC SC SD TX UT VA VI VT WI WA WI WV
Food and Energy Breakdown

The BLS publishes an index entitled “All items Less Food and Energy” which often causes people some confusion. It doesn’t mean they stopped including food and energy in the Consumer Price Index. It just means that they have broken them out so you can compare their increase to other components. In this chart we can see the effects of food, energy and all other items on the total index. For more info see What is Core Inflation?

Misery Index

The misery index as of  February 2019 (based on the most recent official government inflation and unemployment data for the 12 months ending in January)  is at 5.55% down from 5.81% in December and from 5.88% in November.

[Read More…]

You Might Also Like:

From InflationData.com

Read more on UnemploymentData.com.

From Financial Trend Forecaster

From Elliott Wave University

From OptioMoney.com

From Your Family Finances

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From the chart below we can see that deflation was an issue in 2009 as the market eliminated billions of dollars in assets when it crashed. The FED used all the tricks in the book to combat the contraction of the money supply including lowering interest rates to near zero and when that wasn’t enough it began buying assets through its “quantitative easing” (QE) programs. But the deflationary forces weren’t through yet and by 2015 the FED was once again battling deflation.

In the chart below we can see that after dropping interest rates to almost zero they kept them there until 2016 when they increased rates very tentatively. But in 2017 they began raising rates a bit more aggressively.


We can also see the various Quantitative Easing (QE) programs but once Quantitative Tightening (QT) began it didn’t take long before the inflation rate took a nosedive. Typically, FED actions take 12 to 18 months before they show up in the economy at large but this time we saw inflation beginning to fall after only about 6 months.


In the following article by Murray Gunn of Elliott Wave International he looks at some of the more technical aspects of the FED equation and other indicators that deflationary forces might be taking control once again.  ~Tim McMahon, editor

There is evidence that deflationary forces are already taking hold in America By Murray Gunn

When I was writing technical analysis reports for the customers of a major global bank, I received some interesting feedback from one of the bank’s relationship managers. The customers liked the reports, she said, but it would be good if I made them less “technical.” Making technical analysis reports less technical, hmmm. (To be fair, it is actually good advice because striking a balance between technical details and readability is an art.) Sometimes, though, an explanation of a concept cannot help but delve into some detail. So please bear with me on this one.

Evidence is emerging that banks in the U.S. are struggling to find the money required to fund their operations. The “Fed Funds Rate” that gets the headlines when it is changed by the Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve is not the whole story when we are looking at the technicalities of the money market. That rate is actually the Fed Funds Target Rate (Upper Bound). You see, the Fed sets an interest rate range, currently between 2% and 2.25%. Every day, banks in America lend and borrow the reserves they hold at the Fed at a rate which fluctuates in between that range. That rate is called the Fed Funds Effective rate. If there is increasing demand for money from banks, the Effective Fed Funds rate will drift higher. Contrary to popular belief, therefore, the Fed does not control the Fed Funds rate.

But wait, there’s yet another interest rate to consider. The Fed uses a rate called the Interest on Excess Reserves (IOER) as a tool to manipulate (sorry, influence) how close the Effective Fed Funds rate comes to the Target Rate (Upper Bound). If the Fed thinks that the Effective Rate is drifting too high, it will lower the IOER to encourage the Effective Rate back down (if the Effective Rate was above the IOER, banks would remove their excess reserves from the Fed to make more money by lending at the higher rate). I do hope you are still with me!

The Fed Funds Effective rate has been steadily rising in the range this year. In June, the Fed raised its Target Rate by 25 basis points but only raised the IOER by 20 basis points, a sign that it was concerned about the rising Effective Rate. However, the Fed Funds Effective rate has continued to rise. The chart below shows that the Effective Rate is now the same as the IOER and this indicates that there is still increasing demand for funds from banks.

The question is, why?

There are a number of explanations but one getting attention at the moment is whether banks are, essentially, running out of money. Since the Fed started taking away the liquidity punchbowl via its policy of Quantitative Tightening (QT) there has been increasing pressure on bank reserves, especially given that a lot of those reserves now have to be allocated to comply with new regulations. The relentless squeeze higher in the Fed Funds Effective rate could be a signal that banks are scrambling for funds.

The Fed itself does not buy that theory but, if there is an element of truth to it, here’s the stunning conclusion. If banks are already scrambling for funding after QT has barely begun, imagine what it is going to look like in the future as the Fed seems hell-bent on continuing to reduce the size of its balance sheet. There may be a dawning realization that when you scratch the surface of the liquidity mask that the Fed created by Quantitative Easing, what lies beneath is still very ugly.

Murray Gunn has worked for several firms as a fund manager in global bonds, currencies and stocks, including long posts at Standard Life Investments, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and HSBC Bank as Head of Technical Analysis. He has served on the board of the Society of Technical Analysts (UK) and is editor of Elliott Wave International’s European Financial Forecast Short Term Update.

This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline Deflation Alert: Money Already Scarce. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.

You might also like:

Read more on InflationData.com.

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The main idea behind investment is to grow and preserve wealth, and in many cases, find unique ways to generate more income. Popular wisdom has it that when interest rates rise gold prices fall because the opportunity cost of holding an non-interest bearing asset is growing. However, contrary to popular wisdom, recent interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve have coincided with a rising gold price. At the same time, investor confidence in the stock market is faltering due to the FED’s actions. Thus many investors can be seen rushing to the financial security offered by safe haven assets such as gold.

Rising Interest Rates

Quantitative Tightening

This is why gold serves as a hedge against inflation and geopolitical uncertainties. Let’s explore a few reasons behind the mystery:

Gold Can’t Be Hacked

In the digital age where systematic hacks routinely exploit vulnerabilities in state-of-the-art servers and databases, it always pays to store your wealth in a physical form. After all, gold can’t be hacked. In ancient times “Alchemists” unsuccessfully tried to convert base metals into gold.  But you can’t ‘print’ more gold, modern researchers are coming close – but close isn’t good enough. These high tech elements may work as a substitute in some applications but still aren’t real gold. 

Diversification

If you desire to create a stable portfolio that avoids drastic volatility it is critical that you diversify. One interesting characteristic of gold is that it rises and falls independently of other financial assets like stocks and Treasury Bonds. Thus precious metals remain resistant to volatile price movements in the stock market. In the following chart from A chart from Eric Bush of Gavekal Capital we can see the 65 and 120 day rolling correlation between gold and the S&P500. The way correlation works, if two items have a 1 to 1 correlation (1.0 off the top of the chart) it would mean that whenever stocks went up gold went up exactly the same amount and a -1.0 correlation would mean that whenever stocks went up 1% gold would go down -1%. This charts shows that the correlation between gold and stocks varies from a positive 0.6 to a -0.6. When the correlation is at -0.6 that would mean that if stocks go up 1% gold would go down -0.6% but conversely, if stocks go down -1%, gold would go up 0.6%. Some advisors believe that a perfect portfolio can be created with a combination of Stocks, Bonds and Gold since they all tend to go their separate ways (with a low or negative correlation between all three).

Liquidity

Investors are interested in assets that are extremely liquid and transparent and have low fees. Liquidity means that it is easy to buy and sell with little to no transaction costs. Stocks traded on the NYSE are very liquid a single call or click of the mouse and you can sell. A house or a famous painting is very illiquid, you have to find the right buyer and agree on a price, have experts analyse the deal and look for problems and then maybe months later the deal can be completed.

Gold is much more liquid than a house but perhaps a bit less liquid than stocks. Bullion can be easily traded around the world. A large volume of gold trades hands every day, and the barriers to entry remain relatively low with gold offerings starting at just a few grams or 1/10th ounce bars. As of this writing a 1 gram bar sells for less than $50 and 1/10th ounce sells for about $130. “Spot gold” is the dealer’s price which is readily obtained from a variety of internet sites. Generally, small buyers will end up paying slightly over spot for their gold and sellers will receive somewhat less.

Easy to Store

It is easy for investors to store small quantities of gold, they can bring some home in a shopping bag and store it at home or in a safe deposit box. More paranoid investors might feel more confident by storing their gold in secure vaults around the world.  Some people are known to bury their gold in their yards in case burglars decide to come knocking on the door, although unburying the gold might be a hassle.

Protection Against Economic Turmoil

Instead of becoming obsolete in the face of technological advancement, gold has surged in price, rising by a phenomenal 3000% since the 1970s. With the current geopolitical climate threatening to slow economic growth, such as a potentially long government shutdown in the US and the tumultuous Brexit deal, the price of gold is expected to increase further in 2019.

Not discounting are the four consecutive interest rate hikes in 2018, going from 2.25% to 2.5%, placing it above the eurozone’s -0.4% and the UK’s 0.75%. So while Wall Street has a lot of disdain for precious metals, investors will always seek refuge in safe haven assets like spot gold.

World Banks Are Increasing Their Gold Reserves

As the US continues its trade wars with China, countries around the world are increasing their reserves of gold. Russia has increased its reserves to 224 tonnes in 2017, Turkey has requested its 220 tonnes to be brought back home and Hungary has increased its gold reserves by 10 times, a historic first for the country.

You might also like:

Read more on InflationData.com.

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly Consumer Price Index report on January 11th 2019, for January 1 through December 31, 2018.

Annual Inflation is Down
  • Annual inflation in December was 1.91% down from November’s 2.18%.
  • December’s CPI was 251.233 which was below November’s 252.038, below October, September and even below the 251.588 in May.
  • Monthly Inflation for December was -0.32% virtually identical to November’s -0.33%.
  • Next release February 13th
Monthly Inflation:

According to the BLS commissioner’s report, “In December, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers fell 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis; rising 1.9 percent over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in December (SA); up 2.2 percent over the year (NSA).”

When we have a negative monthly inflation rate that is deflationary on a monthly basis but disinflationary on an annual basis until the annual number turns negative as well then it becomes deflationary on an annual basis as well. So what happened this year (and frequently happens in the 4th quarter) is that the last two months of the year (i.e. November and December) were negative, i.e. disinflationary, thus the disinflationary months of November and December wiped out all the inflation back through somewhere between April and May.

Since the CPI is an index, it measures price levels. Generally as prices creep up the index goes up. If the index goes down it means that overall prices are going down (not necessarily all prices just the weighted average of all prices). The CPI-U index was 250.546 in April and prices increased so that the index was 251.588 in May and then increased incrementally up to 252.885 in October. In November the index fell to 252.038. And it fell again in December to 251.233. That means that actual prices at the end of December were somewhere between the April and May levels. But compared to year ago levels they are still 1.91% higher.

The commissioner also reported that “Real average hourly earnings increased 1.1 percent, seasonally adjusted, from December 2017 to December 2018. The change in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average workweek resulted in a 1.2-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.”

“Real earnings” are not the actual dollars earned but are instead dollars earned adjusted for inflation. So what this is saying is that in spite of inflation actual earning are buying 1.1% more stuff this year than last year so the average consumer is better off than they were a year ago.

The following table shows the seasonally adjusted monthly inflation rates. Note that even on a “Seasonally Adjusted” basis for December the “All Items” line was negative (-0.1) meaning that it was more deflationary than usual.

Federal Reserve Actions

The Federal Reserve has taken a more active part in 2018 than it has in recent years both in raising interest rates and in Quantitative Tightening (QT).

Quantitative Tightening (QT) Begins

Rising Interest Rates

For more info See NYSE ROC and MIP.

Seasonally Adjusted Inflation Table

From the table we can see that on a monthly Seasonally adjusted basis the biggest gainer is Piped Gas (i.e. Natural Gas)  while Fuel Oil was actually down -11.4% Energy overall down -3.5% and Gasoline down -7.5%.

Typically the monthly inflation rate is highest during the first quarter (January through March) with April and May often being among the high months but not always. 

The lowest monthly inflation is typically during the last quarter (October through December) with June through September typically being moderate. Surprisingly, July came in negative in both 2016 and 2017. There was not a single negative July from 1950 through 2000 but there have been several since.

Inflation Forecast

Last month we projected a falling inflation rate and we were exactly on target.

See our Moore Inflation Predictor to see our current projections.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Monthly Inflation Rates
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2016 0.17% 0.08% 0.43% 0.47% 0.41% 0.33% (0.16%) 0.09% 0.24% 0.12% (0.16%) 0.03%
2017 0.58% 0.31% 0.08% 0.30% 0.09% 0.09% (0.07%) 0.30% 0.53% (0.06%) 0.00% (0.06%)
2018 0.54% 0.45% 0.23% 0.40% 0.42% 0.16% 0.01% 0.06% 0.12% 0.18% (0.33%) (0.32%)

See: Monthly Inflation Rate for more information and a complete table of Unadjusted Monthly Rates.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Inflation (by Category)
Category Annual
All Items 1.91%
Food 1.6%
Energy -0.3%
All Items less Food and Energy 2.2%
Apparel -0.1%
New Vehicles -0.3%
Used Cars and Trucks 1.4%
Shelter 3.2%
Medical Services 2.6%
Transportation Services 2.8%
Regional Inflation Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces regional data. So if you are interested in more localized inflation information you can find it here.

AL AK AR AZ CA CT CO DC DE FL GA GU HI IA
ID IL IN KS KY LA MA MD ME MI MN MO MS MT
NC ND NE NH NJ NM NV NY OH OK OR PA PR RI
SC SC SD TX UT VA VI VT WI WA WI WV
Food and Energy Breakdown

The BLS publishes an index entitled “All items Less Food and Energy” which often causes people some confusion. It doesn’t mean they stopped including food and energy in the Consumer Price Index. It just means that they have broken them out so you can compare their increase to other components. In this chart we can see the effects of food, energy and all other items on the total index. For more info see What is Core Inflation?

Misery Index

The misery index as of  January 2018 (based on the most recent official government inflation and unemployment data for the 12 months ending in December)  is at 5.81% down slightly from 5.88% last month and6.22% the previous month and even below the 5.98% in September.  

[Read More…]

You Might Also Like:

From InflationData.com

Read more on UnemploymentData.com.

From Financial Trend Forecaster

From Elliott Wave University

From OptioMoney.com

From Your Family Finances

Read Full Article

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