VIEW US CPI unchanged in July, raises hopes of Fed slowing

U.S. consumer prices decelerated in July as gasoline prices dropped sharply, raising hopes the U.S. Federal Reserve may dial back its aggressive path of interest rate hikes.

The consumer price index was unchanged last month after advancing 1.3% in June, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. In the 12 months through June, the CPI climbed 8.5%, below expectations of an 8.7% rise and after a 9.1% rise in June.

MARKET REACTION:

STOCKS: S&P 500 futures turned sharply higher, and were up 1.7%

BONDS: The yield on 10-year Treasury notes was down 8.5 basis points to 2.712%; The two-year U.S. Treasury yield, was down 14.2 basis points at 3.144%.

FOREX: The dollar index fell 1.222%

COMMENTS:

BRIAN JACOBSEN, SENIOR INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, ALLSPRING GLOBAL INVESTMENTS, MENOMONEE FALLS, WISCONSIN
“Hopefully the tide is finally turning on inflation. The Fed might not find this one report compelling enough to act on, but at least it leaves open a slowdown in the pace of hikes come September.”

PETER CARDILLO, CHIEF MARKET ECONOMIST, SPARTAN CAPITAL SECURITIES, NEW YORK

“We got some good inflation news. Obviously, we’re seeing some a relief in transitory inflation, including agriculture and oil and things of that nature. But we still see sticky points.

“This is an indication that we’re going in the right direction. Does this raise the possibility of the Fed changing its tune? I suspect not. We should still see a 50 to a 75 basis point (interest) rate hike in September.

“It’s good news for the stock market. Stock futures are up, yields are down sharply.

“Technically speaking, we’re in a recession. A peculiar one, but a recession. Remember, that if the Fed raises rates in September, that’s just going to slow the economy even further.

“The consumer is getting some relief. Gas prices are coming down, food prices are beginning to stabilize, so that’s good news for the consumer.

“We’re having some relief from the war effect, we’re seeing that in energy, in grains and wheat.”

STEVEN RICCHIUTO, U.S. CHIEF ECONOMIST, MIZUHO SECURITIES USA LLC, NEW YORK

“The market reaction to the details is more correct than incorrect. The details show some pretty big declines in components like air fares, hotels, energy. It also shows some nice declines in used car prices. All of that was better than expected, pulling it down.

“This is part and parcel of what happens when you have an index of lots of things, you have very little information ahead of time for what is forecasted. The big surprise to us was the energy pulldown. But again, people were expecting that more than we were. We thought the energy would be a little bit on the higher side.

“When you look at the numbers it tells you inflation probably peaked in the month of June. Is it settling rapidly enough for the Federal Reserve? My view continues to be that the Fed needs to see a 3 percent point deceleration from the peak, and the peak in the headline number was 9.1%. You need it to come down into the 6’s at least for them to say they have a substantive decline, and you’re at 8.5%.”