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Federal Reserve's Key Gauge for Inflation Is Through the Roof

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Well, we all knew we were dealing with an inflation crisis. It’s been ongoing for months. Joe Biden decided to sit on his hands declaring these matters transitory. They’re not. We’re approaching levels not seen in nearly 40 years. Now, the Federal Reserve’s gauge to monitor this metric saw its biggest gain since 1982 (via Financial Times):


The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge registered another strong monthly gain at the start of the year, in the latest sign that the US central bank needs to reduce the ultra-easy monetary policy that has been in place since the start of the pandemic.

The core personal consumption expenditures price index increased another 0.5 per cent in January, following a similar monthly increase in December, according to the commerce department on Friday.

That translated to an annual increase of 5.2 per cent, the fastest pace in roughly four decades and an acceleration from the 4.9 per cent increase recorded in December.

Once volatile items such as food and energy are factored in, the PCE index jumped 6.1 per cent from the same time last year, or 0.6 per cent on a month-over-month basis.

Fed officials are monitoring inflation data closely as they assess how quickly to raise interest rates this year from today’s near-zero levels.

Personal incomes were flat for the month, and rising price pressures were accompanied by a 2.1 per cent rise in household spending at the start of the year.


The Associated Press has more:

Late Thursday, Fed governor Christopher Waller said he would support a half-point rate hike in March if inflation remains high. Most other Fed policymakers, though, have indicated that they’re inclined to favor a more typical quarter-point hike.

But most officials have said they would prefer to raise rates by the traditional quarter-percentage-point increment, Nick Timiraos reports.

Fed officials want inflation to fall back to its 2% target, as measured by the Commerce Department’s gauge, released Friday. A separate measure, the consumer price index, released two weeks ago, showed that inflation reached 7.5% in January from a year earlier, also a four-decade high.

In December, Fed officials projected that inflation would decline to just 2.7%, according to their preferred measure, by the end of this year, which most economists see as increasingly unlikely. The Fed will release updated projections at its March meeting.


While the war in Ukraine is no help, it’s not the cause of this economic circus. It’s also not the reason why gas prices are rising. Of course, the war will aggravate these crises, but we’ve been dealing with inflation, rising fuel costs, and bare shelves for weeks now. The supply chain crisis persists—and Joe Biden just got played by both China and Russia on this Ukraine matter. Don’t expect much relief until we get a new president. 

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