The truth about inflation

Posted by: Paul Donovan

06 Oct 2020

Daily update

  • Wherever you turn today, there are central bankers. ECB President Lagarde and (perhaps more important) ECB Chief Economist Lane speak. Fed Chair Powell and some economically qualified Fed members speak. Amid the noise, it may be time to start questioning the truth about inflation, and central bank policy.
  • Fed President Evans yesterday indicated the Fed may be comfortable with 2.5% inflation. Inflation is over 2.5% already—on some measures. Inflation inequality causes most people to experience inflation that is higher than reported. And the growth of online retail means that different consumers can be charged different prices for the same things. The signal from central banks is that rates stay low if some inflation measures rise, but there is more to inflation than giving out random numbers greater than 2.0%.
  • German factory orders were in the upper end of the forecast range, and the previous month was again revised up. German growth is nearly always revised stronger. It is as if Germans rush to record bad news on surveys, and delay reporting good news.
  • US trade data is set to show a record deficit. In spite of all the trade taxes, US consumers still buy imports. It should show the US consumer is spending.

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