Morning Bid: With US inflation, every decimal counts

By Thomson Reuters May 13, 2024 | 12:03 AM

By Wayne Cole

(Reuters) – A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Wayne Cole.

It’s finally the week of the U.S. consumer price lottery, and never has a second decimal been so important. The median forecast for core CPI is 0.3%, which alone would be a real relief after three months of 0.4’s. But will it be nearer a dovish 0.26%, or a hawkish 0.34%?

The former, or even lower, would see the market bring a July rate cut back into play from its current pricing of 25%. The latter, or higher, would see the probability of a September easing recoil from the present 61%, perhaps by quite a lot.

Much will depend on whether rents and used car prices finally moderate as long expected, while car insurance and travel costs are wild cards.

There are plenty of Fed speakers on the docket this week to offer their reaction, though unfortunately Chair Powell appears on Tuesday ahead of the data. Seems he’s in Amsterdam for an event, the city making an exception for this particular tourist.

Data on U.S. retail sales for April are also due on Wednesday and, so far, actual spending has outperformed the baffling gloom seen in sentiment surveys. Always a good idea to watch what people do, not what they say.

With so much riding on this data, markets have been understandably cautious so far on Monday with little movement in stocks or currencies. It is also uncertain how investors might react to details of new or increased U.S. tariffs on Chinese exports expected on Tuesday.

The Bank of Japan added to its recent hawkish streak by cutting the amount of bonds it offered to buy at a regular auction, essentially a tiny tightening in QE. Reads like a step toward another rate hike on June 14 and a protest against any further weakening in the yen.

Key developments that could influence markets on Monday:

– Appearance by Fed’s Mester

(By Wayne Cole; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)