Back in the world of real news, inflation expectations among Americans have jumped again, with people expecting the price of food, gasoline and rent to keep rising.
A survey released by the New York Federal Reserve shows that US consumers expect inflation to be 5.2% in a year’s time — an increase of 0.3 percentage points. That’s the tenth consecutive monthly increase and a new series high. Medium-term inflation expectations have also jumped by 0.3 percentage point to a new series high of 4.0%. This is sharply above the Fed’s target of 2% inflation (alongside its second goal of maximum employment). The NY Fed also reports that expectations about year-ahead price changes jumped by 0.8 percentage point for food (to 7.9%), increased by 0.2 percentage point for rent (to 10.0%), and increased by 0.2 percentage point for medical care (to 9.7%).
The expected price of college education decreased by 0.5 percentage point (to 7.0%). The median one-year-ahead expected change in the price of gas increased by 1.1 percentage points to 9.2%. Federal Reserve officials are watching these inflation expectation reports, as they look for evidence whether the jump in prices under the pandemic will be temporary, or is becoming entrenched. US consumer price inflation hit a 13-year high of 5.4% in July — August’s figure is out tomorrow — while the prices charged by goods and services producers hit a series high of 8.3% last month. Rising inflation expectations, and rising prices, could spur the Fed into starting to taper its stimulus programme before the end of this year — although policymakers are also assessing the Delta variant’s impact on the jobs market.