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Well, Maybe The Inflation Threat Is Not That Bad After All?

Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the CPI figures for July and while core inflation was relatively flat, energy and housing saw large gains. The concern was that oil was threatening to fan the flames of inflation. The PPI Report [1]

A day later that concern seemed a bit exagerated as…economists expressed little concern [Note: Subscription] [2] that the higher prices producers are paying signal broad inflation.

Economists also pointed to Tuesday’s consumer-price report, which showed a modest 0.5% advance in July, with the core rate increasing a benign 0.1%.

In addition, the producer-price index for intermediate goods rose 1%, largely because of energy-cost pressures, and the core intermediate index fell 0.1%, the third consecutive monthly decline.

What is the Producer Price Index? [3] In other words, CPI measure price changes to the buyer while PPI measures price changes to the seller.

Rising oil prices appear to be slowing economic growth [4] and placing investor concerns of inflation at ease for now.

Economic stats seem to be more volatile than ever. For example, core cpi would have been even lower had it not been for the rise in auto prices, yet this does not correlate with recent record auto sales due to aggressive discounting. Economists have long complained about the reliability of auto sales and later revisions. Accounting for about one-sixth of US jobs, so the impact of these stats affects the reliability of the overall numbers significantly.

What does all this mean? Many believe the Fed has at least 3 more increases in it before the end of the year. This doesn’t seem to mean that mortgage rates are bound to increase.