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May 1, 2017 | Consumer Spending Flat, PCE Inflation Weakest Showing In 16 Years, Rate Hike Odds Rising

Mike 'Mish' Shedlock

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

The market is increasingly convinced the Fed will hike in June, even as the economic data sinks.

CME Fedwatch shows a 67.4% chance of a rate hike in June, up from a week ago.

This is despite weakening economic reports today including flat consumer spending, negative consumer spending revisions, and falling prices (if one accepts the PCE price index) which the Fed does.

March consumer spending was a modest 0.1%, yet despite a negative revision in February from 0.1% to 0.00%, consumer spending could not meet the estimate.


Based on the consumer and based on inflation, FOMC members won’t be feeling much pressure to raise rates at least not any time soon. Consumer spending was unchanged in March, even weaker than Econoday’s 0.1 percent consensus. More startling is the weakest showing in 16-1/2 years for core PCE prices which fell 0.1 percent to take down the year-on-year rate by a sizable 2 tenths to 1.6 percent.

Income is also disappointing, up only 0.2 percent with the wages & salaries component posting a very weak 0.1 percent rise. Consumers nevertheless managed to move money into the bank as the savings rate rose 2 tenths to 5.9 percent (which is another factor behind the weak spending).

The core PCE index is the key inflation gauge for the FOMC and prior to this report members were expressing confidence that it was stable and generally headed toward their 2 percent target. And overall prices which moved above target in February are now back below target, falling a monthly 0.2 percent with the year-on-year rate down a steep 3 tenths to 1.8 percent. First-quarter economic data proved surprisingly weak even by first-quarter standards. The economy has catching up to do.

Fed Concerned Over Bubbles?

If the market believes the Fed will hike, the Fed is nearly guaranteed to hike.

Is the Fed finally concerned about the bubbles it has blown?

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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May 1st, 2017

Posted In: Mish Talk

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