Inflation grows at quickest rate since 1982
Inflation grew at its highest rate since June 1982, putting pressure on the Federal Reserve ahead of this week’s meeting. FX volatility rebounded in recent months as a result of COVID-19 cases worldwide. Initial weekly jobless claims in the United States hit its lowest mark since 1969.
Inflation soars above expectations
Inflation rose 0.8% in November, equal to a 6.8% increase on a year-over-year basis. This marks the fastest inflation growth since June 1982, focusing even more attention on the Federal Reserve meeting this week. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy items, grew 0.5% in November and 4.9% on a year-over-year basis, which fell in line with market expectations. Energy prices continue to lead the way in increases, as prices in the sector rose by 33.3% since November 2020. Americans are seeing the effects of rising prices, as gasoline is up 58.1% from a year ago. Used car and truck prices also saw a substantial 31.4% increase in prices (YoY), while food prices jumped 6.1% (YoY). All three major equity indices were down on Friday morning after the inflation news but rebounded throughout the afternoon.
The COVID-19 omicron variant, which has now spread to over 50 countries worldwide and at least 19 U.S. states, has contributed even more to FX volatility over the last few months. Germany and the United Kingdom are both struggling with confirmed cases of COVID-19, as both countries’ 7-day rolling average of confirmed cases reached near-record highs. As FX volatility continues to be a trend, Chatham is seeing many companies either starting FX hedging programs or revisiting existing programs to make sure they are still meeting objectives.
After mixed data highlighted the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ November jobs report on the first Friday of the month, the Labor Department released October job openings and job quits last week. October job openings jumped by about 400,000 to 11 million. October marks the fifth straight month that job openings came in over 10 million. October’s total also came in just under July 2021’s record of 11.1 million job openings. The leisure and hospitality industry led the way in openings, as employers posted 251,000 jobs bringing the total to 1.8 million. Manufacturing and education also saw considerable increases in openings, while job openings decreased by 74,000 in government. The number of Americans that quit their jobs fell from September’s record 4.4 million to 4.2 million. Despite the slight decrease in quits from last month, job quits are still hovering at levels much higher than pre-pandemic, as Americans continue to search for new opportunities over concerns of COVID-19, higher wages, and more flexibility.
Weekly initial jobless claims for the week ended December 4 dropped to its lowest total since 1969. Initial claims came in at 184,000, well below market expectations of 211,000. Continuing claims for the week ended November 27 increased by 38,000 to 1.99 million.
The week ahead
After inflation came in above projections, the market will pay close attention to the Federal Reserve meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday. The Fed is expected to announce that they will double the speed of tapering, ending their asset purchases in Spring 2022, rather than the initial target of Summer 2022. Other economic news to be released this week includes the NFIB small-business index, the Producer Price Index (PPI), and the U.S. retail sales report.
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