Federal Reserve Celebrates Steady Inflation as Interest Rates Hold
Inflation Gauges Hold Steady in September, Fueling Fed’s Battle Against Rising Prices
According to source, in September, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, the consumption expenditures price index held steady at a 3.4% rate for the year, meeting expectations and showing no increase in inflation rates after revising August’s figures. This stability is a positive sign for the Fed’s efforts to combat inflation through interest rate hikes, despite inflation gauge still exceeding the 2% annual price growth target. The absence of further inflation gauge hikes suggests progress, which is welcomed by the Biden administration.
Additionally Core PCE inflation gauge excluding volatile energy and food prices, fell to a 3.7% year-over-year inflation gauge rate. While no interest rate increase is expected at the upcoming Fed meeting, the central bank may acknowledge the enduring strength of the economy, especially the resilient labor market, while noting that financial conditions haven’t been tightened enough to curb consumer spending.
The more commonly cited inflation figure is the consumer price index (CPI), which reported a 3.7% inflation gauge rate in September. Despite the Fed’s stringent monetary policy and rate hikes other economic indicators, such as GDP growth have shown unexpected resilience, with the recent GDP report surpassing expectations with a robust 4.9% seasonally adjusted annual inflation gauge rate in the third quarter.
Robust Labor Market Continues Growth, But High Interest Rates Create Challenges for Consumers
Despite some labor market softening, it remains robust, adding 336,000 jobs in September with positive employment revisions in July and August. While expectations include potential GDP growth deceleration and continued labor market strength, the Federal Reserve maintains high interest rates to address concerns related to the inflation gauge.
Investor consensus suggests no further rate hikes this year, but the central bank will likely keep high rates for an extended period. These elevated rates, while not yet impeding GDP and labor performance, strain consumers. The housing market is significantly affected, with mortgage rates at multi-decade highs in response to the Fed’s stringent monetary policy.
As of Thursday, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 7.9%, increasing home purchase costs. Additionally, the strict monetary policy raises expenses related to interest-sensitive obligations, including credit card debt.