NewsWorldANALYSIS | The good, the bad and the...

ANALYSIS | The good, the bad and the unknown in the latest inflation news

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Here’s how the Inflation Reduction Act could affect you 2:05 (CNN) — Good news: US prices were broadly unchanged in July, the first month since November 2020 in which prices prices did not increase. We deserve a break! Bad news: Inflation remains too high, with consumer prices up 8.5% from last July, and well above the 2% that government policymakers consider healthy. Americans still feel the impact of price stickers in their daily lives. While fuel costs, particularly gasoline prices, have fallen in recent months, the core annual inflation rate that strips out more volatile items like energy and food rose 5.9%. year-on-year, matching the increase in June. “When you look at where we’ve been and put this into perspective, you can see that when you compare it to January 2020, it looks like we’re winding down,” CNN’s Rahel Solomon said during an appearance on “Newsroom.” Solomon said a single report like Wednesday’s might not affect the Federal Reserve’s aggressive anti-inflationary plan to raise interest rates. It is a pattern of these kinds of reports, spread out over months, that policymakers are looking for. Gas prices down, but… US inflation highest in 40 years 2:15 Gas prices down 7.7% from June to July, but still up 44% compared with a year ago. In the real world, that means gas prices have dropped from a record average of more than $5 a gallon in early June to a national average of just a penny over $4 on Wednesday, according to the American Gas Association. of the Automobile (AAA, for its acronym in English). It was that short-term drop in fuel costs that offset increases in other areas, such as food, housing and electricity. “You have to look at food and rent very carefully because those are things you can’t cut,” CNN’s global economic analyst Rana Foroohar told “Newsroom.” “A lot of the things that people can cut back on — going on vacation, buying a new car, buying certain household products — they’re cutting back on those things, and I think that’s one of the reasons we’re seeing the decline in demand and inflation. But the things that can’t be cut, where you live, what you eat… those are the things that concern me.” Food prices rise and affect everyone Inflation triggers food prices in Mexico 0:46 Although general inflation has remained stable during the last month, food prices have not fallen. In fact, the price of food, an index that includes groceries, saw its biggest annual increase since 1979, according to CPI data. CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich went to a Philadelphia grocery store to talk to shoppers about costs. She found Ken Elder, a retiree in a faded Grateful Dead T-shirt who lives on Social Security and has changed his daily shopping habits since prices went up. “Especially in meats, dairy,” she said. Appearing after Yurkevich and Elder on CNN, White House official Gene Sperling said lower gas prices are a start and could save Americans money. “No one here is suggesting that things are good enough,” he told CNN’s Ana Cabrera. “Prices are still too high and they’re still hitting, you know, families too hard in line at the grocery store. It’s better at the gas station than it was.” Gasoline prices could rise again at any time, depending on what happens with Russia’s war in Ukraine and with OPEC, the cartel that drives oil prices. Housing is a bigger problem Home prices reach an all-time high in the United States 1:02 Housing, the single largest expense in most households, is a determining factor. It’s a huge element in that core inflation figure that remains high. Before the CPI report was released, CNN’s Martha White took a look at housing, noting that the Fed’s effort to fight inflation (raise interest rates) is making buying a home even more expensive. There has long been a shortage of affordable housing. White discusses additional reasons, including employers’ inability to find workers and ongoing supply chain problems. You’ll learn a lot from her report. I also liked White’s recent story about how the economy is confusing everyone right now. Key line: Companies are hiring, but production is falling. Consumers are pessimistic about what lies ahead, but they continue to spend. The economy did one thing when it was supposed to do another, and even professionals are looking for answers. Don’t celebrate. More turmoil lies ahead Larry Summers, Bill Clinton’s former Treasury secretary and Barack Obama’s economic adviser, has played the horsefly role for President Joe Biden and the current Federal Reserve, criticizing government spending and the lack of increased interest rates much sooner. He pointed out that many economic watchers got too excited after a good CPI report in March only to be affected by massive inflation through June. “I think we just have to maintain a sense of uncertainty and wait for the data to come in,” Summers said on MSNBC. “I still think we have a very serious inflation problem in this country. I don’t think the inflation problem is going to go away on its own. So I think we’re likely going to have some pretty turbulent times ahead of us.” Things may not feel cheaper anytime soon. That will be disconcerting to Americans, who probably aren’t reading the CPI reports, but are looking at the cost. chicken thighs and shaking his head. “How you feel about the economy as an individual is sometimes as important as all the statistics in the world… and I know a lot of people say, ‘We still feel like prices are pretty high. at the grocery store and the gas station,'” Foroohar said. But to economists, a report like Wednesday’s suggests the Fed might be able to sustain the landing with interest rate hikes and slow inflation without bringing the economy into a recession, something they call a “soft landing.” What is not yet clear is whether it is the Fed’s actions (successive large rate hikes) or the con motion among Americans over high energy and food costs which is slowing down inflation. The Fed will look at not just the CPI report, but also jobs figures released last week that showed much better-than-expected job and wage growth, things that could theoretically prolong inflation, when lawmakers meet to consider further hikes. of the interest rate in September. On Wall Street, traders were already tempering expectations about the size of further rate hikes. “The Fed may have a soft landing,” former Fed Governor Randall Kroszner told CNN’s Matt Egan. “But that depends on there not being any big negative impacts and everything going well.” And really, after the last few years, who knows what could happen.

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