After January’s disappointing ‘stall’ in the linear demise of inflation, consensus expectations were for a re-acceleration of the YoY decline in headline CPI (from 6.4% to 6.0%), and the actual print came in right on expectations (+0.4% MoM, +6.0% YoY). That is the lowest YoY CPI since Sept 2021…
As mentioned in a previous post, when I have looked at previous right to left, and left to right political swings, they seem to happen globally, and they seem to happen roughly at the same time. A global shift left happened in the 1930s, and kept shifting until 1970s, when it began to shift back to the right. We are now well into a shift back to the left, that began in 2016. As also highlighted, modern democracies are filled with checks and balances to slow political shifts, but they still happen.
Investors globally are wondering – after CPI sent the ‘peak inflation’ narrative to the bottom of the ocean and Powell’s Jackson Hole speech (and this FOMC statement and press conference) crushed the ‘Fed Pivot’ narrative – what other potential indicators/signals (aside from a multi-month slowdown in inflation of course) could prompt Powell and his pals to back off their uber-hawkishness?
Expectations for a 0.1% MoM drop in CPI has set the squeeze-algos on fire in recent days as the small drop signals ‘peak inflation’ and goldilocks and a unicorn-filled Fed will step back and declare victory (with a lag). Short-term interest-rates – however – have not been buying that dovish story, so how the market reacts to today’s print will be fascinating given the technical background of extreme negative delta and positioning, and now momentum. The market was pricing in a 90% chance of a 75bps hike by The Fed next week ahead of the CPI print.