Inflation Moderating, Core Still Hot, Hot, Hot

The inflation problem, we believe, is not so much about the price of money (interest rates)  but the quantity of money.  The problem with money is that we can’t define what money is in our high-tech and digital economy, much less measure it.  My margin brokerage account —  from which I can write checks —  is money but not counted in the aggregates.  M2 is so Flinstone.  

Gimme Shelter! 

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.4 percent in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 5.0 percent before seasonal adjustment. The index for shelter was by far the largest contributor to the monthly all items increase. This more than offset a decline in the energy index, which decreased 3.5 percent over the month as all major energy component indexes declined. The food index was unchanged in March with the food at home index falling 0.3 percent. – BLS

Inflation, however, remains too high. The core CPI, which economists view as the better indicator of underlying inflation, was up 5.6% from a year ago. It’s the first time in over two years that the core came in above the overall measure, which was up 5%…The report offers glimpses of disinflation ahead even while highlighting the sticky nature of inflation — particularly within the service sector. While policymakers are closely watching for any sign that the latest banking turmoil is weighing on the economy, brisk consumer price gains paired with a still-strong labor market are likely to lead the Fed to raise interest rates at least once more before what they say will be an extended pause. – Bloomberg

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