Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Analysis: Rate Hike in June depends mostly on Inflation

by Bill McBride on 4/27/2016 05:07:00 PM

The April FOMC statement was very similar to the March statement. There was less emphasis on "global" risks in the April statement, and there was more emphasis on low inflation. Here are excepts from the April and March statements on inflation:

From the April FOMC statement:

Inflation has continued to run below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run objective, partly reflecting earlier declines in energy prices and falling prices of non-energy imports.
emphasis added
This was changed from the March FOMC statement:
Inflation picked up in recent months; however, it continued to run below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run objective, partly reflecting declines in energy prices and in prices of non-energy imports.
Note: I was expecting a change in the statement characterizing risks as "nearly balanced", but that wasn't included (I think that would have suggested a rate hike in June was more likely).

To hike in June, it seems the FOMC will be looking for decent employment reports for April and May, and for inflation to pickup (especially core PCE).

Inflation Measures Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the year-over-year change for four key measures of inflation: Core PCE, core CPI, trimmed-mean CPI and median CPI (the last two from the Cleveland Fed). 

On a year-over-year basis in March, the median CPI rose 2.4%, the trimmed-mean CPI rose 2.0%, and the CPI less food and energy rose 2.2%.

Core PCE (green) is for February and increased 1.7% year-over-year.

Using these measures, inflation has been moving up, and most measures are close to the Fed's target - only core PCE is still below.

Core PCE for March will be released this Friday, and core PCE for April will be released on May 31st.  If core PCE moves up further, a rate hike in June would be more likely.