U.S. Inflation Hits New Four-Decade High of 9.1%

Prices up broadly across the economy, with gasoline far outpacing other categories

By Gabriel T. Rubin – Updated July 13, 2022 7:07 pm ET – The Wall Street Journal

My cmnt: This simply is what happens when you put a Leftist, nincompoop**, senile, demented democrat in charge of your country. My wife and I vividly remember living through the Carter years. Then the Obama years. Rich, white, guilty, college-indoctrinated democrats vote this type of religious nut (i.e., believes superstitiously in man-made global warming, Darwinism and abortion) into office because their incomes protect them and they can feel good about themselves. The bottom 60% suffer greatly from this selfishness.

** “Nincompoop,” meaning fool or idiot, was traced back to its first usage in the 1670s by Jonson in his Dictionary of 1755. He believed the word to have come from the Latin legal term, “non compos mentis”, which translates to insane or mentally incompetent or not of sound mind. Jan 10, 2014 Google – fits O’Biden to a T

U.S. consumer inflation accelerated to 9.1% in June, a pace not seen in more than four decades, adding pressure on the Federal Reserve to act more aggressively to slow rapid price increases throughout the economy.

The consumer-price index’s advance for the 12 months ended in June was the fastest pace since November 1981, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. A big jump in gasoline prices—up 11.2% from the previous month and nearly 60% from a year earlier—drove much of the increase, while shelter and food prices were also major contributors.

The June inflation reading exceeded May’s 8.6% rate, prompting investors and analysts to debate whether the Fed would consider a one-percentage-point rate increase, rather than a 0.75-point rise, later this month. Slowing demand is key to the Fed’s goal of restoring price stability in an economy that is still struggling with supply issues, but raising interest rates also elevates the risk of a recession.

Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy components, increased by 5.9% in June from a year earlier, slightly less than May’s 6.0% gain, the Labor Department said.

On a month-to-month basis, core prices rose 0.7% in June, a bit more than their 0.6% increase in May—a sign of inflationary pressures throughout the economy.

“Inflation makes everything difficult,” said Lara Rhame, chief U.S. economist for FS Investments. “It erodes your savings, your wages, your profits. It’s punishing everybody.”

Stocks declined on Wednesday after wavering for much of the day, with the S&P 500 index falling by 0.5%. Bond yields jumped following the inflation report, but yields on longer-term Treasurys quickly gave up those gains.

Despite June’s inflation reading, economists point to recent developments that could subdue price pressures in the coming months.

Investor expectations of slowing economic growth world-wide have led to a decline in commodity prices in recent weeks, including for oil, copper, wheat and corn, after those prices rose sharply following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Retailers have warned of the need to discount goods, especially apparel and home goods, that are out of sync with customer preferences as spending shifts to services and away from goods, and consumers spend down elevated savings.

“There’s a pretty serious recession fear affecting a broad range of asset prices,” said Laura Rosner-Warburton, senior economist at MacroPolicy Perspectives.

Retailers’ ability to shed unwanted inventory could test whether pricing is returning to prepandemic patterns, Ms. Rosner-Warburton said. Some retailers, such as Target, have already said they are planning big discounts. Others with robust warehouse capacity, such as Walmart Inc., could be more likely to hold on to their excess inventory, analysts say.

“It would be really important if we do see discounting return, because it would show that we weren’t that far away from the pre-Covid environment in terms of pricing behavior,” Ms. Rosner-Warburton said.

Discounts haven’t shown up prominently in inflation figures so far: Prices for apparel and home goods both rose last month. New and used car price increases, a significant source of upward pressure on inflation, both eased on a month-to-month basis in June.

The Fed last month raised its interest-rate target by 0.75 percentage point, the largest increase since 1994. Besides tempering demand, the central bank is trying to prevent consumer expectations of higher inflation from becoming entrenched, as such expectations can be self-fulfilling. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said the central bank wants to see clear evidence that price pressures are diminishing before slowing or suspending rate increases.

Persistent high inflation is putting a strain on businesses and consumers who, after decades of price stability, aren’t used to it.

Dan Waag, 55 years old, the owner of Arlene’s Sunny Side Cafe in Alcester, S.D., made the difficult decision to close for a week after concluding that a drop in the number of customers was leaving the restaurant’s finances in the red.

“I know these are tough times with this inflation, little to no rain for the farmers, gas prices as high as they are,” he wrote to his customers on Facebook.

Mr. Waag attributes the slowing demand to a poor season for the corn and bean farmers in the area, and the added toll of higher gasoline prices that might make an outing to his restaurant an unaffordable luxury. He hasn’t changed his prices yet, but with his own rising costs and a drop in daily revenue from around $600-$700 to $300-$400, he feels he may have to soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s