It’s the Fed’s “hold my beer” moment.
After more than a year in which Federal Reserve leadership appeared clueless, pollyannish, and indecisive, the Fed is conducting a full-throated messaging campaign to show that it is as serious as cancer about the inflation surge that is scaring the bejesus out of consumers, investors, and economists.
The Fed continues to talk tough about fighting inflation. And the markets seem to be listening. But in his podcast, Peter Schiff said you need to look at what the Fed is actually doing. And it’s not doing much.
When we got the March CPI data last month, the mainstream crooned that it looked like we were at peak inflation. This was wishful thinking. The April CPI data that came out this week, along with the producer price numbers, indicate that we’re still climbing that inflation mountain. In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, host Mike Maharrey digs into the data and discusses how it could impact the trajectory of Fed monetary policy and the economy.
The March Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 8.5% annually, the highest since December 1981. But the mainstream narrative was that inflation had probably peaked because core inflation, stripping out more volatile food and energy, “only” rose by 0.3%. Mainstream pundits reasoned that the oil shock in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine primarily drove the huge 1.2% month-on-month CPI gain. And since core CPI appeared to be slowing, inflation was cooling.
The April CPI data undercuts this narrative.
Virginia and Alabama both extended their sales tax exemptions on precious metal bullion this year, relieving some of the tax burdens on investors, and taking a step toward treating gold and silver as money instead of as commodities.
Last week, the Fed raised interest rates by 0.5%. It was the biggest rate increase since the year 2000. But it was hardly aggressive in light of the current bout of inflation. Not only that, Jerome Powell took a future 75 basis point hike off the table. In his podcast, Peter Schiff argued that no matter what the Fed does, it has already lost the inflation fight.
The Fed hiked rates 0.5% this week in an effort to stem the inflation tide. But the economy already looks shaky and the central bank has barely started this inflation fight. Friday Gold Wrap host Mike Maharrey breaks down the messaging that came out of the Fed meeting and concludes the central bank is getting closer and closer to a crossroads. What will the central bank do? And what will it mean for the economy?
Jerome Powell began hinting that inflation might be a problem last August. In November, Powell retired the word “transitory.” But here we are in May and the Federal Reserve still hasn’t done anything substantive to address the inflation problem.
And now it may be too late. It’s probably time to buckle up for more inflation – and perhaps a crashing economy.
The Federal Reserve came through with the second rate hike of this tightening cycle, bumping up the Fed Funds rate by 0.5%. It was the biggest interest rate boost by the Fed since 2000. But given the extent of the inflation fight, this hardly seems like a bold, aggressive move. In fact, it was a weak swing that looks more like shadow boxing. And one has to wonder just how long the Fed can stay in the ring.
The Federal Reserve has raised rates once – a mere 25 basis points (with another hike on the table today). So, it’s just getting started, but has it already popped the housing bubble? It sure looks that way. The question is how long will it take for the air to really start coming out.
As mortgage rates push up, mortgage applications continue to fall. As of last week, applications were down 17%, and at the lowest level since May 2020 when the economy was shut down for COVID, according to last week’s Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly Purchase Index. The index has dropped 30% from peak demand in late 2020 and early 2021.