Morgan Stanley
  • Thoughts on the Market Podcast
  • Jun 10, 2022

The Continued Rise in Inflation


Welcome to Thoughts on the Market. I'm Robert Rosener, Senior U.S. Economist for Morgan Stanley Research. Along with my colleagues, bringing you a variety of perspectives, I'll be talking about this morning's inflation data and how that may impact Fed discussions at next week's FOMC meeting. It's Friday, June 10th, at 2 p.m. in New York.

This morning, we received the Consumer Price Index data for May that showed a faster than anticipated increase in both headline and core inflation. Inflation continues to be lifted by high food and energy prices, and the combination of the two have pushed inflation up to a new high on a year over year basis, to. 8.6%. That rise in inflation reflects not just gains in food and energy prices, but extremely broad based increases under the surface, with core goods prices continuing to reaccelerate and core services prices also remaining strong, reflecting continued upside in travel related airfares and hotels. While other factors like rents and owners' equivalent rents both jumped. Rents in particular posted their fastest sequential month on month pace of increase since 1987. 

That's very important, and it’s very important for the Fed next week because this sets a tone of inflation that remains very elevated as the Fed sits down to discuss its policy. Moreover, many, including ourselves, had been expecting that the peak for inflation on a year over year basis would have been registered back in March. But today's data showed that CPI has reached a new high on a year over year basis. That raises uncertainty about the outlook for inflation. And Fed policymakers have expressed some concern about the possibility for some underlying reacceleration in inflation.

We also saw at the same time that data from the University of Michigan Survey of Consumer Sentiment showed that both short and longer term household expectations for inflation have been on the rise. So the risks around inflation remain high, and as the Fed sits down next week policymakers are likely to see inflation as remaining a top of mind topic.

We have been expecting the Fed to pursue a series of 50 basis point rate hikes as the FOMC seeks to tighten financial conditions in order to slow demand and eventually slow inflation. And markets after the inflation data moved very quickly to price in an even more hawkish path for Fed policy, with some risk that a 50 basis point rate hike might not be enough and that there might be some chance that the Fed could deliver a 75 basis point rate hike at some point over the summer.

We'll hear from policymakers next week as to whether or not an acceleration in the pace of rate hikes is something that they see as an attractive option. But the bottom line here is the Fed's work is far from done. Inflation remains high, incoming data suggests that growth has moderated, but has not slowed enough to feel confident that inflation is likely to follow. It's going to be a tricky summer for Fed policymakers, and a tricky summer for data watchers as well, because each incremental inflation data point is likely to inform how Fed policymakers are likely to react and what that path for rate hikes is likely to look like over the summer and into the fall.

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As inflation continues to rise beyond expectations, the Fed is set to meet next week, leaving markets to wonder if an acceleration in rate hikes might be in store this summer.

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