Monday, May 22, 2017

Merrill: "Revising down our inflation forecasts"

by Bill McBride on 5/22/2017 11:25:00 AM

A few excerpts from a Merrill Lynch research note: Revising down our inflation forecasts

After two consecutive disappointing CPI reports, it is clear that inflation is now set for a slower finish this year. After refreshing our models, we now see core CPI inflation ending the year at 1.9% 4Q/4Q, down from our prior forecast of 2.3% and slowing from 2.2% 4Q/4Q 2016 growth. The downgrade largely reflects transitory weakness from wireless telephone services that should revert next year, allowing for core CPI to accelerate back to 2.2% by the end of 2018.

We are also revising our core PCE inflation forecasts. Assuming we see a sluggish 0.1% mom reading in April, the trajectory for core PCE will be knocked lower as the % yoy clip drops to 1.5%. As a result, we take down our 4Q/4Q 2017 core PCE estimate to 1.7% yoy from 1.9%. That said, we continue to expect core PCE to hit 2% by the end of 2018, reaching the Fed’s target.

The main takeaway from these forecast changes is that inflation is still set to move higher, but it is happening later.