From the Desk of Willie Delwiche.
The market has been focused on the headline CPI and eager to declare the inflation battle won. The Fed is less concerned with changes that are fueled by outliers and focuses more on the central tendency and underlying trend in inflation. The median CPI in January posted its third largest 1-month change on record and the 12-month change climbed to a new high. So long peak inflation – we hardly knew you.
Why It Matters: With the market focused on the pullback in headline inflation, bond yields pulled back from their recent highs expectations of rate cuts later this year became more widespread. As it has become clear that the Fed is focused on still-persistent underlying inflation, the market has had to play catch-up. Fed funds futures now match the Fed’s expectations that rates will finish this year above 5% and today for the first time in 15 years we have Treasury yields with a 5-handle. While inflation expectations are on the rise and the underlying trend in yields remains higher, we are not seeing signs of macro-related stress. That keeps the path of least resistance for the Fed and bond yields higher.
Inside we take a Deeper Look at what continues to fuel inflation, how the market is getting on the same page as the Fed and what that all means for bonds going forward.