Key US Inflation Gauge Seen Slowing But Leaving Fed Wanting More
(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserves preferred inflation gauges probably cooled in December to the slowest paces in more than a year, reinforcing a step down in the pace of interest-rate hikes but likely not enough for officials to discuss a pause.
Economists project a 5% annual increase in the personal consumption expenditures price index due Friday, and a 4.4% rise in the core metric, which excludes food and energy. Both would be the smallest advances since late 2021, and estimates for monthly changes also point to moderation compared with earlier last year.
Such figures would be consistent with forecasts that the Fed will further dial back the pace of interest-rate hikes to a quarter-point move at the conclusion of their two-day meeting on Feb. 1. But inflation remains well above their 2% goal and a still-tight labor market risks keeping it elevated.
Their reaction function seems to have baked in slowing down interest-rate increases to a pace of 25 basis points per meeting going forward, said Blerina Uruci, chief US economist at T. Rowe Price Associates. The PCE number should not change that path much especially as it is coming at the back of a few months of cooler inflation data.
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