More "Tame" Inflation

Friday, November 16, 2007 | 06:39 AM

Cpi_oct_2007

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Won't someone please fire these lazy headline writers?

Its amazing to read these headers on inflation, which are then belied by the underlying data. As the BLS table above should make clear to even the most starry-eyed fan of Alan Greenspan, even the official inflation data remains elevated.

The NYT's headline AND reporting was the worst of the entire crowd:   

Inflation Was Tame in October

Inflation remains contained despite high oil prices and a record low dollar, a government report showed yesterday, offering some reassurance to the Federal Reserve as it considers whether to lower interest rates again at its meeting next month.

But economists warned that sharp increases in food and energy costs will weigh on consumers in the coming months, putting a damper on spending in other parts of the economy.

Compare that headline with these:

CPI Rise Yet Another Headwind For Retailers Forbes
Pace of consumer inflation quickens
Chicago Tribune
US Economy: Energy-Led Price Gains May Restrain Fed Bloomberg
Rising gas prices push up inflation AP
US inflation fears knock stocks BBC News

Partial credit goes to the Journal headline writer trying to convey the most info in their title:

Consumer Prices Grow Moderately As Low Housing Costs Offset Energy Wall Street Journal

Let's look at the actual data:

Headline CPI grew 0.3% over the past month, the same as September. The core index (excluding food and energy), rose 0.2% for the fifth straight month. Annualized, that's 3.7% and 2.2% (ignore the rounding).

At 2.2% gains year over year, Core inflation is above the Fed's target rate.

Starbucks (SBUX) was the latest company to feel the pinch of inflation: Rising wholesale prices forced the world’s largest chain of coffee shops to raise drink prices. This led to the first ever decline in visits, and a lowered profit and sales forecast.

Starbucks, up until recently, very much a stock darling, has seen their share price tumble by a third this year.

As we have repeatedly stated, there is no free lunch. When cyou drop rates as low as we have, you ignite price increases.

Expect to see more problems like these. Firms that have been absorbing their input cost increases can no longer do so. When they finally pass along these price increases, pinched customers have no choice but to cut back . . .   


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Sources:
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX:  OCTOBER 2007   
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

Inflation Was Tame in October
MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
NYT, November 16, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/16/business/16econ.html

Starbucks Turns to TV In Bid to Boost Results    
JANET ADAMY
WSJ, November 16, 2007
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119513628463094194.html

CPI Rise Yet Another Headwind For Retailers
Andrew Farrell
Forbes, 11.15.07, 10:20 PM ET
http://tinyurl.com/2bwnlx

Friday, November 16, 2007 | 06:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack (3)
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» A propos umiarkowanej inflacji from Black swan
Maluśkie odwołanie do BigPicture , czyli jednego z blogów, które najczęściej czytam. Autora, poodbnie [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 16, 2007 8:38:05 AM

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Tracked on Nov 16, 2007 8:40:25 AM

» Shipping to Lattes: The Problem of Higher Prices from The Big Picture
Earlier this morning, we noted Starbucks' (SBUX) inflation woes. When I wrote Expect to see more problems like these, I didn't mean within an hour or two: FedEx (FDX) dropped the bomb that slowing growth and higher energy costs put the squeeze on profi... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 16, 2007 9:52:50 AM

Comments

Hedonic adjustments, particularly on consumer electronics and PCs keep generating a fraudulent CPI.

For October, in its CPI-W (wage earners) the BLS has ‘video & audio’ declining 0.6%; PCs are down 9.5%, which helps produce a 12.3% decline in ‘information ex-telephone’.

Posted by: Bill King | Nov 16, 2007 7:22:26 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.



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