US inflation – Not Ready for a breakout?
Currently positive momentum is not
enough to predict normal levels of inflation. So it
is encouraging that the recent uptick is consistent
with a number of macro models.
These suggest that leading signals from the likes of rising import
prices, an expanding manufacturing sector and,
most notably, stronger economic growth all help
explain the trend. The input price pressure results
in labour prices holding off , meanwhile factory
owners are pressured to meet production demands and
output. Hence US workers are denied the ability
to properly spend their earnings , or get an
increase. Thus inflation lags or is held back.
The ISM manufacturing reading
has been a fairly reliable leading indicator for US
core inflation with a five-quarter lag identified.
Similarly, real economic output has historically
been a decent proxy for core infation with a
Given economic growth returned to a more
impressive 2.3 per cent in 2017, should the
historic relationships hold, core prices should
comfortably hold above the Fed’s target rate of
two per cent. But this is unlikely as the
‘rainbow nations’ that the US trades with
are likely to put further pressure
on import prices in the long run.
With that in mind, one argument for why
inflation mostly disappointing over the last year
was that it was responding to weak growth in late
2015 and early 2016, also which followed the US
energy sector collapse following a huge decline in
the price of oil following a change in investment