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Energy prices lift US inflation print

Friday, March 12, 2021

With energy costs now firmly in an ascending pattern (the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil is up 26% so far this year and has doubled over a rolling year) it should be of no surprise that this inflationary effect is starting to show up in published inflation numbers. The latest US Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure shows that February’s inflation print rose 0.4%, largely in line with most forecasts. Bad weather in the southern states led to a surge in energy prices and this will see a transitory bump in CPI for a few months still, or at least that is what Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Powell will want the bond vigilantes to believe. Year-on-year inflation of 1.7% is still below the Fed’s target level, so all in all a no-score draw between the Fed and the bond market on 10 March.

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