Friday, April 25, 2008

Have our inflation expectations become unhinged?

Recent rate cuts by the Fed make me wonder if we've lost our anchor in the inflation expectations. Like Jim Hamilton I hope that the Fed resists the market expectations for another rate cut before it loses credibility in its mandate for price stability.

One measure of inflation expectation is the University of Michigan's Survey of Consumers. This is seen as unreliable although it is trending upward (the overall series is rather volatile), so trending upward here is a very, very loose use of the word trend. You can plot this and other series at the Cleveland Fed. This site also introduces another way to extract inflation expectations using Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) which is also showing some upward movement. It's hard to judge how well this series performs without being able to overlay actual inflation on to the chart.

knzn is skeptical of the Cleveland Fed method of calculating inflation expectations and likewise, James Hamilton is likewise cautious. See also here.

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