Market Overview

CPI Preview: Cost of Shelter the Joker in the Pack Amid Crucial Report

  • Today’s spotlight is on the release of crucial U.S. inflation data, anticipated to show a decline in both the overall Consumer Price Index and the core CPI
  • Market expectations include a decrease in the annual Core CPI from 3.9% to 3.7% and a drop in the Annual CPI from 3.4% to 2.9%.
  • In this piece, we will analyze market scenarios in the event of disappointing or better-than-expected data releases.
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Today marks the release of the most crucial event of the week – the US inflation data report.

According to estimates from Investing.com’s economic calendar, both the overall Consumer Price Index and the core CPI are expected to show a decline on an annual basis.

At the monthly level, markets anticipate no significant change.

US Inflation Data

Specifically, these are the expectations:

  • Annual Core CPI from 3.9% to 3.7%
  • Annual CPI: 3.4% to 2.9%
  • Monthly Core CPI: unchanged at 0.3%
  • Monthly CPI: down from 0.3% to 0.2%

The housing component, specifically the Shelter component, remains a significant question mark. It is a ‘lagging’ component that, as depicted in the image below, has been on a downward trend for some time. US Rents Vs. Shelter CPI

And since the Shelter component weighs about 33 percent of the total CPI, then we can well understand how important it is for the downward trend to continue to see steadily declining inflation.

Given the recent front-run of the pivot by the housing and real estate markets, all eyes will be set on this specific part of the reading today.

How to Read the Report

Investors must observe the treasury market as the main thermometer of general reaction to the numbers.

That’s because markets will be pricing in the probability of the Fed’s first rate cut in light of today’s numbers. Remember that the bond market is much bigger than the stock market and often the main driver of investor sentiment.

If the inflation figure comes in lower than expected, the central bank might reconsider its stance on the first rate cut, potentially leading to further market gains.

Hence, higher yields would imply that the market is still expecting a higher cost of capital for longer. Conversely, subsiding yields would imply that the Fed’s pivot is ready to start.

In case of good numbers (lowering inflation), interesting opportunities may arise in asset classes that have recently suffered, namely:

  • Small Caps
  • Precious Metals
  • Bonds

Conversely, higher-than-expected CPI indicates that the Fed’s job may still have room to run. In this case, assets classes likely to benefit are:

  • The US Dollar
  • Foreign markets with lower expected real rates

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