The DC Today - Tuesday February 14, 2023

Episode 559: The DC Today - Tuesday February 14, 2023

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The CPI number for the month of January came in at +0.4% for core inflation and +0.5% for headline inflation, exactly in line with expectations. The year-over-year number is down to 6.4%, vs. the high of 9.1% last summer, and less than last month’s 6.5%. This represents seven months in a row of a declining inflation rate.

Core goods have now deflated by 4.8% on an annualized basis over the last four months. The deflationary drag of core goods will wear off in the months ahead as the year-over-year comparison wanes (lower comparative number, otherwise known as base effect).

Shipping Costs from China are down -90% from a year ago and it seems some people just want to act like that is a small factor in all of this (or prices being 10x higher than they are now was a small factor in the previous goods inflation). I remain mystified by this willful blindness.

“Owner’s Equivalent Rent” was up +0.7% on the month and 7.8% on the year. Uh-huh. The disinflationary impact from shelter is expected to become visible in the data from March through the end of the year (last March people were still signing leases higher than those the month before, but by spring the rents peaked and then downward pressure began in earnest in the second half of the year, so that gets picked up in year-over-year numbers this year). I believe the impact of this will be worth three full percentage points to headline CPI by the end of the year (meaning, shaving three points off). Some other analyst estimates have it between 2.5% and 2.8% of a downward impact.

The new category of “super-core” inflation – that is, inflation on that which is left when you exclude food, energy, and housing, is sticking around 4% right now.

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David Bahnsen

David Bahnsen

David is the Founder, Managing Partner, and the Chief Investment Officer of The Bahnsen Group.

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