CPI set to influence the Fed’s 2023 plans for inflation

CPI: Consumer inflation is anticipated to have fallen in December compared to November after a problematic 2022 driven by inflation and high costs.

The sudden drop in energy and fuel costs brought on the decline.

However, the yearly rate would likely remain high.

According to Dow Jones, analysts anticipate a monthly decline in the consumer price index of 0.1%.

In the meantime, a 6.5% increase in inflation is presumed.

Despite the reports, the CPI remained below its all-time high of 9.1% in June 2022.

CPI vs Core CPI

The consumer price index measures the average yearly change in prices of consumer goods and services.

Costs associated with food and energy are removed from the core CPI because they alter more frequently than other products.

This limitation is crucial because it may take time to determine the underlying price trend when food and energy expenses vary significantly from month to month or year to year.

Since it is less impacted by short-term changes in food and energy costs, the core CPI is seen as a more reliable inflation index.

It is anticipated to increase by 0.3% in December, reflecting a 5.7% annual growth.

The core CPI increased by 6% annually and 0.2% monthly in November.

Diane Swonk, the chief economist at KPMG, praised the projected drop.

“We welcome it with open arms. It’s good news,” said Swonk.

“It’s great and it helped to fuel consumer spending in the fourth quarter. But it’s still not enough.”

Slowed inflation outlook

The CPI will be released on Thursday, the last batch of data, before the Federal Reserve decides on interest rates on February 1.

The relevance of the inflation rate on the financial markets has increased lately.

Traders predict the CPI to reflect less inflation than analysts expect.

They cited the weaker-than-expected wage increase in the December employment report and other data points that signaled lower inflation expectations.

Stocks rose before the results were made public on Wednesday, which worried Peter Boockvar, the chief investment officer at Bleakley Financial Group.

“The market is looking at it as glass half full. Inflation is rolling over, and the Fed is almost done raising interest rates,” he said.

“I think they remember the last two months when you had numbers that were well below expectations. They’re just assuming that’s going to be the case again.”

Read also: The Fed needs freedom to make hard decisions

The Fed impact

Traders continue to wager on the central bank raising interest rates by a quarter point at its upcoming meeting in the futures market.

Policymakers are expected to raise the fed funds target rate by 0.5 percentage points, according to economists.

20% of the market anticipates a hike of 50 basis points.

State Street Global Advisors’ head economist, Simona Mocuta, saw commotion surrounding a particular data point.

“It’s amazing how much reaction and over a single data point,” she mused. “Clearly, the CPI is very important.”

“In this particular case, it does have fairly direct implications, which are about the size of the next Fed rate hike.”

According to Mocuta, the Fed may be swayed by a lower CPI.

“The market has not priced the full 50. I think the market is right in this case,” she explained.

“The Fed can still contradict the market, but what the market is pricing is the right decision.”

According to Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust, the decline in energy costs and the 12% decline in gasoline prices in December reduced inflation.

The CPI has not reflected a deceased pace, even though the rental market suggests a drop.

“Shelter is the main focus because of the lag,” said Tilley. “Everyone is familiar with the lag that it takes for the data to show up in the CPI.”

“We think there could be a sharper slowdown.”

Nearly 40% of the core CPI comprises housing costs, which are anticipated to increase by 0.6% per month.

Luke Tilley claims that landlords have complained that as the housing market gets worse, it is getting harder for them to boost rent.

“We’re pencilling in slower increases in January and February and March on that shorter leg.”

Focus on services

Economic experts have concentrated on growing service inflation in the CPI since goods inflation is likely to continue shrinking because of the stabilized supply chain.

“The headline monthly changes over the last two, three months overstate the improvement,” said Simona Mocuta.

“We’re going to get the same help from gasoline in the next report. I don’t want to see an acceleration in shelter. I want to see some of the discretionary areas show deceleration.”

“I think right now the focus is very much on the services side.”

The market is now concentrating on the Fed’s capacity to control inflation since it may affect how much further interest rates are hiked.

The economic slowdown brought on by the hike might be the discrepancy between a recession and a soft landing.

“The hope is that basically, we are now in a position where you could envision a soft landing,” said Diane Swonk.

“That requires the Fed to not only stop raising rates but ease up sooner, and that doesn’t seem to be where they’re at.”

“The Fed is hedging a different bet than the markets are. This is where nuance is really hard. You’re in this position where you’re improving,” she continued.

“It’s like a patient is getting better, but they’re not out of the hospital yet.”


Inflation is expected to have declined in December, but it may not be enough to stop the Fed

3 ways the Fed’s latest hike rate can affect you

The Fed — The Federal Reserve has taken dramatic steps to combat inflation for more than a year, hiking bank lending rates eleven times in total. As a result of the increases, many consumer rates have risen.

The rate hikes are intended to curb inflation, and they appear to be succeeding so far.

Read also: Magic Johnson makes history as Washington Commanders co-owner in 2023

Inflation update

According to the most recent Consumer Price Index measurement, inflation was 3% in June. Meanwhile, the Fed’s preferred inflation indicator, the core Personal Consumption Expenditure Index, showed that inflation fell to 4.6%.

Regardless, both numbers remain well over the Fed’s 2% objective, indicating that the US central bank is unwilling to lighten off on rate rises.

“Despite the euphoria over inflation coming down from 9.1% to 3% in the past year, the trend on core inflation readings – which exclude volatile food and energy components to provide a better read on inflation trends – is much less impressive,” said Greg McBride, the chief financial analyst of Bankrate.com.

“We may be waiting for a protracted period of cooling inflation before we see a halt to interest rate hikes,” added Michele Raneri, the vice president and head of US research and consulting at TransUnion.

The Federal Reserve highlighted three ways the latest rate rise may benefit or harm the general population on Wednesday.

Savings opportunities

As of July 17, the national average savings account interest was 0.52%, according to Bankrate. People’s money, on the other hand, can earn more in online high-yield savings accounts, particularly at FDIC-insured banks.

As of Wednesday, numerous FDIC-insured banks were charging rates ranging from 4.5% to 5%.

People who have enough money in their savings account to keep undisturbed for one month to a year can lock in a high rate by depositing it in an FDIC-insured bank.

Although the average rate on a one-year CD was only 1.58% as of July 17, there are certain one-year CDs available that pay more than 5%. Shorter-term CDs with interest rates ranging from 4% to 5% are also available. Some pay 5.35%, according to Schwab.com.

Credit card rates still high

Credit card rates are rising in lockstep with Fed rates. According to reports, card rates have been trending at more than 20-year highs in recent years.

According to Bankrate.com, the average credit card interest rate as of July 19 was 20.44%. The rate has decreased marginally from the previous week’s reading of 20.58%. Regardless, it is more than 6 percentage points more than the previous year’s average.

The average of 20.44% applies to all cardholders, even those who are never charged interest after paying their payment in full and on time every month. A closer look at persons who pay interest because they hold a monthly amount reveals that the average rate is higher. According to the Fed’s second-quarter figures, the average rate is 22.16%.

People that carry a debt will have to pay more money in interest if they merely pay the minimum required. As a result, it would take them longer to repay their debts.

“For someone with $5,000 in credit card debt on a card with a 22.16% [rate] and a $250 monthly payment, they will pay $1,298 in total interest and take 26 months to pay off the balance,” said LendingTree chief credit card analyst Matt Schulz.

“Cardholders’ best move is to assume that rates will continue to rise, and use that as further motivation to continue to knock down their credit card debt.”

Finding a suitable balance-transfer card with an initial 0% rate for over 21 months and paying what they owe in the months before the 0% rate expires is an option for credit card customers. Otherwise, the remaining balance would be liable to a greater interest rate than before they transferred their balance.

Mortgage cost remains high

Almost everything housing-related (purchasing, upgrading, and even borrowing against a home) consumes a sizable amount of people’s income, and the cost has continuously increased.

According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year mortgage rate was 6.78% in the week ending July 20, down from 6.96% the previous week. Regardless, it is higher than the 5.54% rate recorded in 2022.

People who take up a $350,000 30-year fixed-rate mortgage now would pay an additional $281 per month compared to what they would have owed if they took out the loan in 2022 at 5.54%. This amounts to an additional $101,600 over the life of the loan.

People who are about to purchase a property may want to be prepared for potential rate increases. If they can afford the loans, it is best to lock in the lowest fixed rate offered.

Furthermore, mortgage rates are not directly linked to the Fed’s overnight lending rate. They instead follow the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note. The note’s yield reflects investor opinion for the economy and inflation.

If inflation continues to fall, the 10-year yield may fall as well, causing mortgage rates to fall.

Meanwhile, fixed-rate equity loans and variable-rate lines of credit are closely related to Fed actions. According to Bankrate, the average national rate for a home equity loan is 8.47% as of July 25. Meanwhile, the average interest rate on a home equity line of credit is 8.58%.

The rate that people can obtain depends on a number of things, including:

  • The size of the loan
  • Credit score
  • How much equity they have in their home
  • Income

People who have utilized a home equity line of credit for home upgrades, according to McBride, can ask their lender if they can set the rate on their remaining debt, resulting in a fixed-rate home equity loan. If they are turned down, they might explore paying off the loan with a HELOC from a different lender at a lower promotional rate.

Mortgage rates affected by the banking crisis

Mortgage rates – For the past couple of weeks, the United States has been ushered into a banking crisis, which in turn, has affected several industries.

Despite only being March, mortgage rates are already creating a headache for prospective buyers.

They can expect mortgage rates to go down through the rest of 2023 as the banking crisis continues, which could also cool down inflation.

However, there is also the possibility of some setbacks.

The Feds

According to Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage topped out at 7.08% in November following a steady rise in 2022 due to the Federal Reserve’s attempts to curb inflation.

The average rate trickled down through January as the economic data suggested inflation was retreating.

However, strong economic reports in February raised concerns that inflation wasn’t cool as quickly or as much as projected.

As a result, the average mortgage rate climbed back up by half a percentage point over the month after it fell to 6.09%.

In March, banks started failing, which sent rates falling again.

Despite the decline, the Federal Reserve and the bank failures didn’t directly impact mortgage rates.

Instead, the rates are indirectly affected by the actions the Fed takes or is expected to take.

Other factors are the health of the broader financial system and uncertainty that could be percolating.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced another rate hike by a quarter point to combat high inflation while considering the recent risks to financial stability.

Analysts say that despite the bank failures complicating the Fed’s actions, if it’s contained then the crisis might have helped them by bringing down prices without resorting to more interest rate hikes.

The Fed suggested on Wednesday that it could be the end of the rate hikes.

Credit and rates connection

Mortgage rates have been known for tracking the yield on 10-year US Treasury bonds.

It moves based on three factors:

  • The Fed’s actions
  • What the Fed does
  • The investors’ reactions

When Treasury yields increase, mortgage rates also go up; when they decline, mortgage rates follow.

After the Fed’s announcement on Wednesday, bond yields and the mortgage rates that shadow them dropped.

However, it isn’t all bad according to Zillow senior economist Orphe Divounguy.

Divounguy pointed out that the relationship between mortgage rates and Treasuries have slightly weakened in the past few weeks.

“The secondary mortgage market may react to speculation that more financial entities may need to sell their long-term investments, like mortgage backed securities, to get more liquidity today,” he said.

Divounguy added that as Treasuries decline, tighter credit conditions from the bank failures could limit dramatic plunging of mortgage rates.

“This could restrict mortgage lenders’ access to funding sources, resulting in higher rates than Treasuries would otherwise indicate,” he said.

“For borrowers, lending standards were already quite strict, and tighter conditions may make it more difficult for some home shoppers to secure funding.”

“In turn, for home sellers, the time it takes to sell could increase as buyers hesitate.”

Read also: The Fed brings up interest rates for the 9th straight week

Rates expected to stabilize in the long run

Inflation remains high, but it is slowing down.

Analysts are projecting a slower economy in the coming quarters that could contribute to bringing down inflation.

According to Mike Fratantoni, the senior vice president and chief economist of Mortgage Bankers Association, it could be good for mortgage borrowers who can expect rates to retreat throughout 2023.

Inflation is expected to improve in the second half of 2023, which could lead to stable mortgage rates.

“Expectations for slower economic growth or even a recession should bring inflation down and help mortgage rates decline,” said Divounguy.

It could be good news for home buyers as it improves affordability and brings down the cost to finance a home.

Furthermore, it could benefit sellers by reducing the intensity of an interest-rate lock-in.

Lower rates could also convince homeowners to list their home to the market.

As the inventory of homes for sale are edging around historic lows, it would add much-needed inventory to a limited pool.

“Mortgage rates are steering both supply and demand in today’s costly environment,” said Divounguy.

“Home sales picked up in January when rates were relatively low, then slacked off as they ramped back up.”

However, the cooling inflation could bring the risk of job losses, another hurdle in the housing market.

“Of course, much uncertainty surrounding the state of inflation and this still-evolving banking turmoil remains,” Divounguy added.

On Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said estimates of the cost of banking developments could slow the economy.

Regardless, the impact would reflect mortgage rates.

“Evidence – in either direction – of spillovers into the broader economy or accelerating inflation would likely cause another policy shift, which would materialize in mortgage rates,” Divounguy noted.


The Fed brings up interest rates for the 9th straight week

The FedOn Wednesday, the Federal Reserve continued its attempts to combat the high inflation with another rate hike.

This time, they raised interest rates by a quarter point.

Additionally, they addressed risks to financial stability.

The news

Despite the recent meltdown in the banking sector, investors and economists were wary of a potential quarter-point increase.

Federal Chairman Jerome Powell and legislators went into their second policymaking meeting of 2023 with an air of uncertainty due to the shifting landscape around the financial system.

In the past few weeks, the Fed’s initiative to bring down inflation had become difficult as several banks collapsed.

The situation led to the Fed working to balance a potential financial crisis as inflation continued to soar, and the labor market tightened.

A struggle on all fronts

When the meeting concluded, the Federal Reserve released a statement acknowledging the recent financial market dilemma was taking a toll on inflation and the economy.

However, officials expressed their confidence in the overall system.

“The US banking system is sound and resilient,” they wrote.

“Recent developments are likely to result in tighter credit conditions for households and businesses and to weigh on economic activity, hiring and inflation.”

“The extent of these effects is uncertain.”

According to the officials, the Committee is still keeping track of the inflation risks.

The banking crisis

The recent banking troubles have instilled fears across the country.

Many fear that the central bank might overcorrect the economy and potentially lead the country into a recession.

Others are afraid that their actions could trigger more bank failures.

Meanwhile, prominent economists have urged the Federal Reserve to hit the brakes on the rate hikes.

Their calls for a pause can be partly attributed to rate hikes undermining the value of Treasuries and other securities, which have always been a critical source of capital for most US banks.

For example, when Silicon Valley Bank had to sell bonds quickly at a substantial loss, it went through a liquidity crisis that led to its collapse.

Former New York Fed President Bill Dudley offered his two cents, saying, “The Fed’s in a bit of a bind.”

“On the one hand, they should keep tightening because inflation is still too high and the labor market is too tight.”

“On the other hand, they want to make sure they don’t do anything to exacerbate the stress on the banking system.”

“There’s not really a right solution.”

Read also: Credit Suisse failures raise banking fears worldwide

The rate hikes

Policymakers have made their decisions, and interest rates have increased for the ninth consecutive time.

They raised overnight lending rates to the highest level since September 2007, going from 4.75% to 5%.

Their actions send a clear message that right now, their top priority is restoring price stability.

It’s also important to note that the decision to raise rates by a quarter point was in complete accord.

Since June 2022, no policymaker has been against the decision for other similar decisions.

Additionally, they released their rate projections after their last release around December.

Projections have primarily aligned with previous forecasts.

Furthermore, the Federal Reserve is still anticipating more rate hikes as they expect interest rates to reach 5.1% by the end of the year.

With this in mind, the Feds expect another quarter-point rate hike before they decide to hit the brakes.

However, officials indicate that interest rates would likely stay high longer while they bring their projected Federal funds rate from 4.1% to 4.3% in 2024.

In March, Jerome Powell hinted that interest rates could move higher and remain there longer than previously anticipated.

With the current financial conditions, there might be less need to hold the rates higher to cool the economy and curb inflation.

Fed officials are projecting deeper economic cuts in the next two years.

Real GDP is a measure used for the economy, and it is forecast to grow by 0.4% in 2023, which is a step down from previous projections of 0.5%.

In 2024, officials anticipate the economy will grow by 1.2%, lower than the 1.6% expected in December.

Furthermore, Fed policymakers forecast unemployment dropping lower than expected by the year’s end – 4.5% from the earlier 4.6% in December.

However, inflation could go higher than expected.

Fed officials are projecting PCE inflation could go higher this year than the last forecast, from 3.1% to 3.3%.

Mary Daly admits more hikes might be needed

Mary DalyA series of crises have tarnished this past year, but the effects of inflation are still being felt today.

While it has decreased somewhat, the Federal Reserve is still on course to raise interest rates in order to handle the lingering issue.

Mary Daly, President of the San Francisco Fed, likewise underlined the importance of another rate hike.

The news

Mary Daly suggested on Saturday that the Federal Reserve should not only raise but also maintain interest rates at their current levels.

She claimed that doing so would enable them to deal with increased prices caused by inflation.

“There is more work to do,” said Daly at Princeton University.

“In order to put this episode of high inflation behind us, further policy tightening, maintained for a longer time, will likely be necessary.”

“Restoring price stability is our mandate, and it is what the American people expect. So, the FOMIC remains resolute in achieving this goal.”

Mary Daly also confessed that high inflation and the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes to bring prices down frightened Main Street and Wall Street.

“The responses range from fearing these actions will tip the economy into a recession to fearing they won’t be enough to get the job done.”

Concern triggered huge market volatility with the release of fresh economic data, as uncertainty encourages investors to seek quick remedies.

Yet, Daly feels that meeting the stated goal will take time and “a broader view.”

Nevertheless, Mary Daly remarked that given the volume and length of high inflation readings, the Fed’s current tightening policy was (and continues to be) fair.

Daly also calls the disinflationary trend into question, noting significant inflation in the goods, housing, and related sectors, as well as strong economic indicators.

Mary Daly is a member of the Federal Open Market Committee and attends policy meetings, but she does not currently vote on Fed policy.

Federal Reserve warnings

A week before Mary Daly’s speech, the Federal Reserve issued similar concerns.

Last Wednesday, Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari remarked that he is open to the possibility of a bigger interest rate hike during the Fed’s March policy meeting.

“Whether it’s 25 or 50 basis points,” said Kashkari.

Likewise, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic stated that the Fed’s policy rate should be hiked by half a percentage point at the next meeting.

The next day, Fed Governor Christopher warned that interest rates might climb quicker than planned.

He highlighted a sequence of economic numbers that were stronger than predicted.

Read also: Stock market ends February with losses

Interest rate progress

In the last year, the Federal Reserve has done a lot to keep inflation under control.

It raised its target range from near zero to 4.5% to 4.75%.

After cutting half a percentage point in December, they reduced increases to a quarter of a percentage point in February.

Inflation had reached a four-decade high in 2022, but it had started to fall in the last quarter.

Yet, January inflation data showed that the rate of price increases was steadily growing again.

Gold price

As a result of the new warnings, gold prices have come to a halt.

Prices dipped from a two-and-a-half-week high on Monday as traders anticipated US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s decision for clues about future rate hikes.

On February 15, spot gold reached a high of $1,858.19 per ounce, but it is now down 0.3% at $1,849.33 per ounce.

Likewise, gold futures in the United States rose slightly to $1,855.10.

In addition, the dollar index increased 0.1%, making greenback-priced bullion more expensive for overseas buyers.

Awaiting testimony

Many people are looking forward to Powell’s congressional hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the February jobs report due Friday.

“Currently, gold is in a wait-and-see mode,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

“There’s unlikely to be a change of script from Powell, reiterating the need for further rate hikes to bring inflation under control.”

While gold is frequently employed as an inflation hedge, rising interest rates may dampen demand for the zero-yielding commodity.

Mary Daly explored the possibility of interest rates climbing (and sticking there) if data on Saturday is hotter than expected.

According to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao, current gold prices may continue to rise into the $1,867 to $1,876 per ounce region once resistance at $1,853 is breached.

The Fed needs freedom to make hard decisions

The Fed: After prices have risen to levels not seen in decades, the Federal Reserve attempted to control inflation last year.

However, their efforts have run into complications since political meddling has limited the Fed’s authority to make decisions.

Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Fed, recently spoke on the subject.


Jerome Powell reiterated on Tuesday that for the central bank to effectively control excessive inflation, it must be free from political pressure.

Even if it leads to politically unfavorable criticism, the Fed Chairman informed Sweden’s Riksbank that stern measures would need to be taken to stabilize prices.

“Price stability is the bedrock of a healthy economy and provides the public with immeasurable benefits over time,” said Powell.

“But restoring price stability when inflation is high can require measures that are not popular in the short term as we raise interest rates to slow the economy.”

“The absence of direct political control over our decision allows us to take these necessary measures without considering short-term political factors.”

At a meeting to discuss the independence of central banks, the Fed Chair remarked.

There was a question-and-answer period following the comments.


Jerome Powell’s speech included no references to the course that the policy will take this year.

In 2022, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates a record seven times, for a total increase of 4.25 percentage points.

The increases raise the possibility of more hikes this year.

Read also: Apple and Tesla stocks drop in 4th quarter


The Federal Reserve frequently makes choices that are harshly criticized.

Public officials’ grievances and critiques are nothing new, but Powell’s Fed has drawn fire from both political parties.

Prices increased under his leadership, which former president Donald Trump condemned.

Democrats like Elizabeth Warren, a progressive senator, have criticized the most recent interest rate hikes.

President Joe Biden has refrained from commenting on the Fed’s actions, stating that it is the central bank’s responsibility to deal with inflation directly.

Jerome Powell stated that political factors had not swayed him in spite of the allegations.

Calls for climate change

During his speech on Tuesday, Powell addressed the lawmakers’ calls to use the Fed’s regulatory authority to fight climate change.

Last year, he received letters from four top Republican House Financial Services Committee members.

The Republicans argued that the Federal Reserve shouldn’t control consumer demand or decide which businesses get more support.

Powell said that the Fed should continue on its current trajectory rather than deviate from pursuing perceived societal benefits that are weakly connected to their legal obligations and goals.

He asserts that the Fed’s request for large banks to evaluate their financial preparedness for climate-related calamities (such as hurricanes and floods) is the closest thing to climate-related activities they should be involved in.

“Decisions about policies to directly address climate change should be made by the elected branches of government and thus reflect the public’s will as expressed through elections,” added Powell.

“But without explicit congressional legislation, it would be inappropriate for us to use our monetary policy or supervisory tools to promote a greener economy or to achieve other climate-based goals.”

“We are not, and we will not be, a ‘climate policymaker.'”

Climate program

A “scenario analysis” is being solicited with the inclusion of the six biggest banks in the US as part of a pilot program the Fed is launching this year.

An institution’s resilience to significant climatic disasters will be assessed through the analysis.

The test will resemble the so-called stress tests used by the Fed to assess how banks might respond to actual economic downturns.

The following banks are taking part in the exercise:

  • Bank of America
  • Citigroup
  • Goldman Sachs
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Wells Fargo


Throughout his remarks, Jerome Powell discussed central bank independence and maintained that the American people profited from it.

According to Powell, central banks’ independence empowers them to make difficult decisions.

“Restoring price stability when inflation is high can require measures that are not popular in the short term as we raise interest rates to slow the economy,” he added.

Congress set the highest employment and price stability targets for the Fed and its staff to be independent and use its tools to carry out the goals.

“Taking on new goals, however worthy, without a clear statutory mandate would undermine the case for our independence,” said Powell.


The Fed is not a ‘climate-policy maker,’ Powell says

Powell says Fed might have to make unpopular decisions to stabilize prices