The consumer price index is expected to have risen nearly 6% in October, the most in three decades. Inflation could remain elevated into early next year, as rents and other costs continue to increase.
The Labor Department will report the latest CPI reading Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Dow Jones are expecting a jump of 0.6%, or a year-over-year gain of 5.9%. On a core basis, excluding food and energy, economists expect a gain of 0.4% or 4.3% year over year.
“There’s a risk it could be even higher,” Grant Thornton chief economist Diane Swonk said.”We’ve got some unusual distortions with used car prices, airfares going up and hotel room rates rising,” she added. “You could get some surge prices in services, at the same time you had a snapback in used car prices and new car prices also went up because demand went up with the flooding” from summer hurricanes.
Used car prices were a culprit behind rising inflation in the spring. They fell down in the summer and declined last month, but they could begin to rise again, Swonk said.
If the CPI reaches 5.9%, it would be the biggest year-over-year gain since December 1990. Consumer prices were 5.4% in September year over year. Rising prices that stick
The spike in consumer prices is hotter and more enduring than many economists, and the Federal Reserve, had initially expected. Inflation has become the top concern of stock market strategists, who say much higher or stickier inflation could lead the Fed to speed up the wind down of its bond-buying program and move on to raise interest rates sooner than anticipated.
“The main theme over the past few months has been that the inflation pressures seem to be broadening out,” Amherst Pierpont chief economist Stephen Stanley said. “The big increases in the spring were driven by just a handful of categories.”
“Those categories started to reverse, but we’re starting to get high readings because a lot of things are turning higher, whether it’s shelter costs, or other service categories, like recreation,” he added.
View full article here at www.cnbc.com