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The Federal Reserve has officially stopped making sense

In this post:

  • Federal Reserve officials expect new data to confirm stalled inflation progress, leading to sustained higher interest rates.
  • March’s expected data suggests a slight rise in the personal consumption expenditures price index to 2.6% due to higher energy costs.
  • Core PCE, excluding food and energy, also likely rose by 0.3%, mirroring February’s increase.
  • Despite softer core PCE data compared to the CPI, the Fed indicates a longer wait before any potential rate cuts.

Federal Reserve officials are anticipating further data indicating that their fight against inflation is plateauing, leading to an extended period of higher interest rates. The data is expected to reaffirm that the personal consumption expenditures price index (PCE), an inflation measure favored by policymakers, remained high in March.

Fed with Inflation Measures and Economic Indicators

March’s data suggests the PCE index may show a slight acceleration to 2.6% year-over-year, driven by increasing energy costs. Similarly, the core PCE, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is anticipated to have risen by 0.3% from February, matching the previous month’s rise.

Source: Bloomberg

This metric, though not as headline-grabbing as the consumer price index that recently surpassed expectations and disturbed markets, is crucial for the Federal Reserve. Chair Jerome Powell and other Fed officials have indicated a cautious approach, signaling it will take a longer duration to confidently observe a downward inflation trend before considering rate cuts.

The Federal Reserve will adhere to its usual pre-meeting quiet period next week, leading up to the two-day meeting ending on May 1. This Friday will not only bring fresh inflation figures but also data on personal spending and income for March. Economists are predicting solid increases in household spending on goods and services, buoyed by strong job growth, with an expectation of accelerated income growth as well.

Further insights will be provided by the government’s initial estimate of the first quarter’s economic growth, which likely slowed from the vigorous pace seen in the previous period but remained above what the Federal Reserve considers sustainable over the long term.

Additional reports due to be released include a composite index of activity from both manufacturing and service sectors and figures on new home sales. The University of Michigan is also set to release its final April assessment of consumer sentiment and inflation expectations later in the week.

Global Economy and the U.S. Dollar

As global financial leaders convened in Washington this week for the IMF and World Bank spring meetings, two significant themes emerged. First, the unexpected robustness of the U.S. economy is bolstering global growth—a positive development celebrated by many. However, this strong U.S. growth is simultaneously posing challenges worldwide, complicating the economic landscape. The robustness of the U.S. is forcing the Federal Reserve to maintain high interest rates to combat persistent inflation, a situation that complicates financial strategies globally.

High U.S. interest rates make American Treasury notes, yielding nearly 5%, an attractive investment compared to others, causing international investors to shy away from opportunities elsewhere.

Additionally, the strong dollar impacts exchange rates, increasing the cost of U.S. imports for other countries and making their goods cheaper in the U.S. market. However, this strong dollar scenario has a downside. It increases the local currency cost of commodities like oil, gas, grain, and steel, which are dollar-denominated, thereby inflating costs globally.

The conundrum remains whether the world prefers a strong U.S. economy or moderates growth. While no country desires a recession, the hope is that the U.S. government will avoid exacerbating inflation through excessive deficit spending or protectionist measures. As IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva succinctly noted, “All eyes are on the U.S.,” highlighting the global dependency on America’s economic policies.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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