Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.2% in July, in line with economist forecasts for 0.2% and steady from 0.2% in June. On a year-over-year basis, CPI inflation was running at a 3.2% pace versus 3.3% expected and against 3.0% in June.

Core CPI – which strips out volatile food and energy costs – was higher by 0.2% in July versus 0.2% forecast and 0.2% in June. Yearly core CPI in July was 4.7% versus 4.8% forecast and 4.8% in June.

The price of bitcoin (BTC) was little-changed in the minutes following the U.S. government’s report at $29,550.

To combat galloping inflation early in 2022, the U.S. Federal Reserve began what’s now become an historic run of monetary tightening, raising its benchmark fed funds rate target more than 500 basis points over the past 17 months. The most recent rate hike was at the Fed’s last policy meeting in June. The surge in interest rates played at least a part in bitcoin’s tumble from more than $69,000 in late 2021 to just above $16,000 at the end of 2022 and its so-far meek bounce this year to just above $29,000.

Headline inflation was running above 9% at one point last year and has mostly steadily declined since, notwithstanding July’s bump to 3.2%. The core rate peaked at 6.5% in 2022. It’s dropped as well, thought not as dramatically as the headline number. The Fed’s target rate for inflation is 2%, but members of the central bank have indicated multiple times that they do not need to see a 2% print before deciding to end the monetary tightening cycle.

To this point, markets have been mostly expecting the U.S. central bank to sit on its hands at its next meeting in September and possibly for the rest of 2023. Prior to this morning’s numbers, the CME FedWatch tool showed traders have priced in just a 15.5% chance of a rate hike next month.

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