October CPI Report: Inflation’s Direction Decisive for Rates
November 14, 2023
Anticipating the October CPI Report
The Labor Department is poised to release the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for October at 8:30 a.m. today. Investors are closely monitoring this release, seeking any signs of easing inflationary pressures. An unexpected CPI outcome may bolster the chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates again in December. Moreover, there’s considerable interest in the impact of recent modifications to the health insurance cost calculations within the CPI, which could notably affect inflation measures.
October CPI Projections
October’s CPI is projected to show a modest month-on-month increase of 0.1%, marking a slowdown from September’s 0.4% uptick. On an annual basis, the expectation is that inflation will have risen by 3.3%, marginally down from the 3.7% observed in the prior month. When excluding the volatile sectors of food and energy, the core CPI is expected to maintain its 0.3% month-on-month growth, consistent with the rate in September. For October, economists anticipate the annual core inflation rate to be at 4.1%, aligning with September’s figure.
Inflation Expectations and Market Predictions
Forecasting upcoming CPI data elicits diverse opinions. Lawrence Fuller of SA Investing Group theorizes that lower-than-anticipated inflation could cause yields to fall and possibly ignite a rise in risk asset prices, reigniting a year-end rally. On the other hand, Mott Capital Management cautions that there’s a significant possibility that inflation might exceed expectations, especially due to rising health insurance costs. Such a scenario would suggest that inflationary pressures might linger longer than some have forecast.
The Inflation Debate: Temporary Relief or Persistent Pressure?
Analysts are divided in their views on inflation and the economic outlook. Some perceive a notable reduction in headline inflation from a peak of 7% earlier in the year to a rate now approaching 3%, seeing this as progress. They recognize, though, that reaching the Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation goal will take more time. Yet there are those who are more cautious, pointing to the entrenched nature of core inflation. As the pandemic and the problems it caused in the supply chain fade, the main causes of inflation seem to be sticking around, which adds to worries about long-lasting inflationary pressures.