Inflation Report Expected to Be Cautiously Optimistic for July
Although a decrease in the Consumer Price Index is anticipated for the month of July, there is a possibility that inflation may continue to be uncomfortably high for some time.
The expectation is that the Consumer Price Index report that will be released on Wednesday will indicate that price hikes slowed in July. This would be good news for both consumers and policymakers since reduced petrol prices and airfares provided a welcome break.
However, it is unclear if the moderation will continue since fuel costs are unpredictable, and there is a possibility that gas prices could continue to rise. Economists have also cautioned that while inflation is anticipated to reduce in the months ahead, it may not moderate enough, and the Federal Reserve may need to continue working aggressively to lower it. This is because inflation may not moderate sufficient in the months ahead.
Since hitting an all-time high of more than $5 per gallon in June, the price of gasoline in the United States has been on a downward trend for the last 57 days in a row.
According to the AAA, the national average price of gasoline was $4.01 a gallon on Wednesday. That's up from where it was a year ago, but it's still a long way off from the all-time high of roughly $5.02 in the middle of June (not adjusted for inflation). Since wide measures of inflation are influenced by energy costs, this decline is also welcome news for policymakers since they have considered controlling the rate at which fuel prices rise a top objective.
The gasoline price decline is another indicator that the economy is on the mend since companies will be under less pressure to pass on the rising cost of energy to their clients, which is a practice that would make the country's inflation issue even worse.
According to the results of a poll that Bloomberg conducted with economists, consumer prices probably increased 8.7 percent over the course of the year through July, which is a decrease from the 9.1 percent increase that occurred over the course of the year through June. The goal of the Federal Reserve is to maintain annual inflation at a rate of 2 percent; however, the Fed also focuses on a related but independent inflation gauge that is now running somewhat lower but is nonetheless excessively high.
The expectations of policymakers have been continually shattered despite the fact that they have been pinning their hopes on a slowing of price rises for more than a year at this point: As a result of problems with the supply chain, goods became more expensive; as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the price of commodities skyrocketed; as a result of a lack of workers, wages and the cost of services became more expensive; and as a result of a lack of housing, rents became more expensive.
At this time, there are indications that progress is being made on at least two of these fronts, with constraints on the supply chain showing some signs of recovery and gas prices reducing. According to Aneta Markowska, a chief financial economist at Jefferies, still-rapid wage growth and growing housing prices might maintain inflation too high for comfort for some time. Aneta Markowska made this prediction.
Ms. Markowska predicted that "this would be a rather mild report, at least in comparison to the past couple." She went on to explain that she anticipated price rises to continue to decline to about 4 percent by the beginning of the next year but that they would then plateau. "At the end of the day, we're still going to be left with housing and labor market pressures, and those aren't going to go away on their own," he said. "Those aren't going to go away on their own."
Since the Federal Reserve believes that inflation is unlikely to decrease on its own, the central bank has been steadily increasing interest rates since March to slow the economy by making it more costly to borrow money. The total demand must be lowered to allow the supply to catch up.
However, it will take some time for the impact of Fed initiatives to become apparent. The unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in half a century, and hiring picked up at an unexpectedly rapid pace in July. Both the wage growth rate and the increase in consumer expenditure have been significantly above the expectations of many analysts.
Various gauges of inflation expectations have lately shown signs of moderation, which suggests that the recent decrease in the price of gasoline and the Federal Reserve's commitment to battling inflation may be helping to soothe consumers and investors.
Officials at the Federal Reserve are now debating how swiftly they should increase interest rates. They increased them by three-quarters of a percentage point in both June and July, and they have indicated that a third straight move of that scale — which is exceptionally significant — is still a possibility when they get together in September to discuss it.
Why are gas prices falling?