Investors on Wednesday are bracing for another inflation report north of 8%, though the number may provide some relief for those looking for the CPI to start cooling off. While April’s Consumer Price Index is expected to come in at a flaming 8.1% Y/Y, the figure would be down from the 8.5% print seen in March, which marked the highest inflation level seen since the early 1980s. The CPI provides a snapshot of overall prices – meaning costs of certain goods can continue to rise – so keep one eye on the core inflation figure (which excludes food and energy), as well as sub-sectors like cars and rent. U.S. stock index futures at 4:00 a.m. ET: Dow +0.5%; S&P 500 +0.6%; Nasdaq +0.7%.
Quote: “I want every American to know that I am taking inflation very seriously and it’s my top domestic priority,” President Biden said Tuesday before the closely-watched report. “The first cause of inflation is a once-in-a-century pandemic. Not only did it shut down our global economy, it threw supply chains and demand completely out of whack… And this year we have a second cause: Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine.”
Biden went on to propose solutions like “lowering everyday costs for hard-working Americans” through Medicare price negotiation and caps, improving operations at ports to reduce supply chain logjams and promoting competition to get smaller companies into the market. Lowering the deficit will also be a priority by “asking large corporations and the wealthiest Americans to not engage in price gouging and pay their fair share in taxes.” With regards to cutting high energy prices, Biden said he had “led the world in the largest release of oil from our stockpiles in history,” allowed biofuels in gasoline, and is driving green investment at the same time as near-record domestic crude production. Oil companies will also not get a “free pass” for unused oil leases (numbering 9,000 nationwide) and will be required to pay taxes on them if they don’t produce more oil.
Not about one report: “I wouldn’t say [today’s] CPI matters by itself. I think the combination of March, [today’s] and May’s data will kind of be the big inflection point,” said Ben Jeffery, a fixed income strategist at BMO. “I think it will either reassert the selling pressure we saw that took 10s to 3.20%, or I think it will inspire more dip-buying interest for investors who have been waiting for signs that inflation is starting to peak.”