NEW YORK (Reuters) - Core consumer inflation rose more than expected in May to post its largest increase in nearly three years, lifted by steep rises in motor vehicle and apparel prices.
A gauge of manufacturing in New York State showed the sector unexpectedly contracted in June, falling below zero for the first time since November 2010 in another sign the economic slowdown could become more protracted, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Wednesday.
PETER BOOCKVAR, EQUITY STRATEGIST, MILLER TABAK + CO, NEW YORK
“High commodity prices are filtering into consumer prices even without any U.S. wage pressures which the inflation doves have been hanging their hat on. Wage pressures though are being felt here via China. The inflation data also makes the Fed’s job that much more difficult as stagflation is now a growing reality and the inflation part ties the hands of the Fed to react with more easing. As many of us believe though, the more easing has added to the inflation so maybe less will tame it.”
JOSH FEINMAN, CHIEF GLOBAL ECONOMIST, DB ADVISORS, NEW YORK
“The core reading of 0.3 percent is surprising and somewhat disturbing. I remain pretty sanguine about inflation, but this month certainly doesn’t help.”
“It didn’t fall as much as the other regional data last month. It’s another piece of softer manufacturing data. It’s hard to determine whether it’s transitory due to the Japanese supply-chain disruption. Auto supply production is scheduled to ramp up. Whether this is a more permanent deterioration, we just have to wait and see.”
DEAN MAKI, HEAD OF U.S. ECONOMIC RESEARCH, BARCLAYS CAPITAL, NEW YORK
“This report showed notable strengthening in core inflation pressures and we saw it both on the goods and services side. Both core commodities and core services were notably above recent trends and there’s no one category that is responsible for this.
“As we step back and look at the numbers the overall picture presented here is that core inflation pressures are a lot stronger than we’ve been seeing in recent months and I think this will make the Fed more cautious on any additional actions. We were not expecting QE3 but this will raise the bar even higher for further stimulus.
“One of the factors that’s been slowing real growth down has been high inflation, specifically energy inflation. The solution to that isn’t to try to stimulate more which might have the potential to push up energy prices more it is perhaps to wait and see if energy prices moderate.”
PAUL RADEKE, VICE PRESIDENT AT THE MINNEAPOLIS-BASED KDV WEALTH MANAGEMENT
“People are becoming less accepting of the idea of Japan driving the slowdown in manufacturing, so the New York Fed number will create a very negative day. I assume people will look at this as another reason the recovery is stalling, giving more fodder to the double dip theory. However, other data has shown that the consumer remains on track, suggesting that eventually manufacturing will catch up. However, this data suggests that process will take longer.”
“We have a split between prices and activity here, and the activity data is very disappointing. Empire is one of the first releases we have out that really shows that June is also starting out on a soft footing, so that’s not good. Its showing that this soft spot might be more protracted than originally expected.”
“On the CPI front, its on the firm side of expectations. The core is strong so there is probably some support there from motor vehicles, which may be part of this supply shortage.”
“Empire State is not looking very good. Not only did we plummet into negative territory, but excluding that one number we had in November ‘10 this is the lowest number since 2009. Of course, a good portion of this is from the supply disruptions from what is happening overseas in Japan but it will have an impact on auto sales, and on activity in the second half of the year.”
“It certainly is going to hurt what’s going on over here in the domestic economy.
“Bernanke has made it very clear that they’ve done everything they can do and now it’s up to the Obama administration to encourage growth and get pro-small business policies in place.
“We are in unprecedented territory, so we could see talk of additional stimulus in other directions but I don’t think talk of QE3 is viable right now.”
“We’re seeing a pretty muted reaction, probably because the hotter CPI numbers are being offset by the weak Empire State report. I’m not very worried about a mild rise in inflation but I am worried about jobs in the manufacturing sector. If the rest of the data is in line with expectations today, I’d expect the dollar to struggle on that.”
DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS
“May CPI surprised on the upside with a 0.2% rise in the headline and more worryingly a 0.3% rise in the core rate ex food and energy, the strongest monthly rise in this series since July 2008. While some of the sectors lifting the core rate in May look erratic, the underlying trend continues to accelerate. Both the overall and core CPI increases were 0.1% ahead of market expectations...
“Gasoline prices should fall further in June and the PPI breakdown suggests food prices are close to a peak too. Concerns over headline CPI should start to fade, but the latest data suggests no room for complacency on the core, even if erratic factors did play a part in the upside surprise.”
VIMOMBI NSHOM, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS
“Whereas last month’s report could have been explained as manufacturing conditions losing recovery momentum, today’s report is more painting a picture of a halt in progress, which hopefully will prove brief.”
MARKET REACTION: STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures extend losses. BONDS: U.S. bond prices cut early gains. FOREX: The dollar extends gains versus the euro.