“This 7.9% rate is a jumping off point for what March will bring us.”
As expected, U.S. inflation continued at a four-decade high in February, and things are likely to get worse with the spike in commodity and transport costs in March. Buy gas lately? Or food? Ouch.
What does it all mean? Where is inflation heading? Let’s get some answers from inflation guru Michael Ashton and his “Cents and Sensibility” podcast. I am a fan of this podcast and Ashton’s work because he has deep knowledge of how inflation works, but can explain complex issues in an entertaining way.
In this episode, Ashton asks:
- How relevant are food and gas prices in the overall inflation picture? Why do these basic costs get excluded from “core inflation”? Won’t they eventually force wages to rise?
- Is inflation likely to peak soon?
- Why is it unlikely that the Federal Reserve will act decisively to drive down soaring inflation?
- What is the pace of likely Federal Reserve rate increases?
Here is his podcast intro: “Another month, another 40+-year high in inflation. 7.9% y/y for headline, 6.4% on core, and we’re not yet at the peak. Moreover, the peak is likely to be broader and not sharp, because inflation has infected the whole basket and changed the equilibrium that we are going to recede to. It’s as if a juggler has moved from juggling two balls to juggling five; that is a stable equilibrium and will resist moving back. And the Fed is probably going to be careful before upsetting the juggler too much (the Inflation Guy really had to work hard to resist a balls pun).“
Have a listen:
Who is Michael Ashton?
His audiences know him as the “Inflation Guy.” He is a pioneer in the U.S. inflation derivatives market. Before founding his company, Enduring Investments, Ashton worked in research, sales and trading for several large investment banks including Bankers Trust, Barclays Capital, and J.P. Morgan.
Since 2003, when he traded the first interbank U.S. CPI swaps, and 2004 when he was the lead market maker for the CME’s CPI Futures contract, he has played an integral role in developing new instruments and methods for accessing and hedging various inflation exposures. In 2016, Mr. Ashton published What’s Wrong With Money? The Biggest Bubble of All. He is a graduate of Trinity University and lives in Morristown, New Jersey.
Have a question? Get the Inflation Guy app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or email InflationGuy@enduringinvestments.com.
* * *
Feel free to post comments or questions below. If it is your first-ever comment, it will have to wait for moderation. After that, your comments will automatically appear.
David Enna is a financial journalist, not a financial adviser. He is not selling or profiting from any investment discussed. The investments he discusses can purchased through the Treasury or other providers without fees, commissions or carrying charges. Please do your own research before investing.