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“I don’t mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I’ve saved all year.” – Victor Borge
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We’re already in the middle of the week, but in many ways, it’s just beginning as June CPI is being released as we write this, a number of Fed speakers are on the calendar to speak, and then later in the week, we’ll get PPI, Jobless Claims, Michigan Confidence, and then the start of earnings season. Heading into the release of today’s CPI report, equity futures are higher following a mixed session in Asia, and a strong showing in Europe where most benchmark indices are up 0.5% or more. Interest rates are lower, and crude oil is up back above $75 per barrel.
In Asia, overnight data was positive as PPI in Japan unexpectedly declined 0.2%, and in China, the government pledged support for internet platform companies which could signal some thawing in the tensions between the communist government and the country’s most powerful executives.
There isn’t much in the way of specific catalysts to speak of explaining the rally in European stocks, although Spanish CPI increased 0.6% m/m which was right in line with expectations. What makes that report notable is that the y/y rate of inflation dropped to 1.9% from 3.2% making Spain the first EU member state to reach the 2% inflation bogey. Will the rest of the region follow suit?
The June CPI report was just released, and while economists were forecasting both the headline and core readings to rise 0.3%, the actual readings came in at 0.2% on both a headline and core basis. On a y/y basis, headline inflation dropped to 3.0%, the lowest level since March 2021 while core CPI dropped to 4.8, which is the lowest reading since October 2021. We’re definitely not at Mission Accomplished, but it’s still moving in the right direction. In response to the report, equity futures are higher with the Nasdaq leading the way gaining more than 1%.
Remember back when it seemed we couldn’t get a weaker-than-expected CPI reading? Well, that tide has turned in a big way. The charts below show the rolling 12-month total of the number of months that headline and core CPI came in higher than expected. At the headline level, there have only been two stronger-than-expected readings in the last year which is the fewest in a twelve-month span since November 2019. On a core basis, there have been just three stronger-than-expected monthly readings, and that’s the fewest since November 2020. In markets, just when you think a trend is entrenched, things have a way of turning on a dime, and that’s an important thing to remember for both investors and policymakers alike.
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