"Reflation" Is Officially Dead: Core CPI Tumbles For The First Time In Over Seven Years

The reflation trade is officially over.

At the same time that retail sales posted the worst 2 month drop in 2 years, CPI - the bedrock behind the Fed's rate hiking intentions - just hit a brick wall, and after months of headline CPI growth mostly the back of the energy "base effect", in March this ended with a thud, when headline CPI printed at -0.3%, badly missing expectations of an unchanged print. The number was so bad, all 79 economist estimates missed the number (predicting a -0.2% low).

The biggest driver for the headline plunge was energy, which declined 3.2%, with the gasoline index falling 6.2%, and other major energy component indexes decreasing as well. The food index rose 0.3 percent, with the index for food at home increasing 0.5% its largest increase since May 2014.

But the real story was in the core numer, because CPI ex-food and energy dropped -0.1%, another huge miss to the +0.2% rise expected, and also the first - and worst - decline since January 2010.

Among the core components, the shelter index rose 0.1 percent, and the indexes for motor vehicle insurance, medical care, tobacco, airline fares, and alcoholic beverages also increased in March. These increases were offset by declines in several indexes, including those for wireless telephone services, used cars and trucks, new vehicles, and apparel.

More details from the report that will likely assure that Yellen will not be hiking rates for a long time:

The index for all items less food and energy declined 0.1 percent in March. The index for communication fell 3.5 percent as the index for wireless telephone services decreased 7.0 percent, the largest 1-month decline in the history of the index. The index for used cars and trucks continued to fall, declining 0.9 percent in March, and the new vehicles index decreased 0.3 percent. The apparel index declined 0.7 percent in March after rising 0.6 percent in February.

 

The shelter index rose 0.1 percent in March, its smallest increase since June 2014. The rent index rose 0.3 percent and the index for owners' equivalent rent advanced 0.2 percent, but the index for lodging away from home fell 2.4 percent. The medical care index increased 0.1 percent in March, as the index for hospital services rose 0.4 percent, the index for prescription drugs was unchanged, and the physicians' services index declined 0.3 percent.

 

The index for motor vehicle insurance continued to rise, increasing 1.2 percent in March. The index for tobacco rose 0.5 percent, the airline fares index increased 0.4 percent, and the index for alcoholic beverages rose 0.2 percent. The indexes for recreation, for education, and for household furnishings and operations were unchanged in March.

Even Shelter inflation is now rolling over:


Incidentally, just moments after Trump's flip-flop on the USD and on rates, now looking for lower rates instead of higher under advice of his ex-Goldman counsel, it became clear that the US economic data would have to decline sharply in the coming months to grant his wish, and to stop the Fed from hiking further, which is why we said the following:

And sure enough...

Now we look forward for Wall Street to "U-turn" alongside Trump, and explain how it was only kidding about rising rates being good for risk assets, and what it really meant was that only QE4 can fix the economy, as usual.

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