Wednesday, October 17, 2007

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Consumer price inflation rose to 2.8% in September, up from 2.0% in August.The monthly rise was actually only 0.3%. With commodity prices going through the roof (Oil at $87, gold at $765), one is tempted to scoff at the alleged limited price increase reported by the government.

I agree that the government numbers underestimate price inflation, but they are still likely to mostly move in the same direction as true price inflation. And even the government numbers will increase a lot more soon. With oil prices up 25% from mid-August, the mere 0.3% increase in energy prices is nothing compared to the rises we can expect later. The increase in gasoline prices is limited somewhat by reduction in refinery margins, but even so, gasoline prices are rising. And ultimately, the reduction in margins is unlikely to be sustainable.

Similarly, food price inflation will if anything continue to accelerate from its current 4.5% level. With food commodities up 36% the latest year (up 10% since mid-August), finished food products will certainly continue to rise at least at the current level, likely even faster.

The monetary basis for the sharp increase in commodity prices, the falling dollar, the increasingly overvalued stock market and the likely acceleration of official consumer price inflation can be seen here.


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