Tags: Paulsen | inflation | overheated | price

Wells Capital's Paulsen Sees 'Cocktail of Overheated Fears' Coming on Inflation

By Dan Weil   |   Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 08:29 AM

With consumer prices increasing only 1.5 percent last year, it's hard to argue inflation is something to worry about now.

But James Paulsen, chief investment strategist of Wells Capital Management, says a number of developments may lead that situation to change soon.

"I see a number of different things coming together mixing a cocktail of overheated fears" over price increases, he tells Yahoo.

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Secret ‘250% Calendar’ Exposed — Free Video

First, investors could grow concerned about new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's perceived dovishness toward inflation, Paulsen says. She takes over Feb. 1.

Second, the dollar has weakened over the past six months. Third, the labor market is at its strongest since the economy began its recovery in June 2009, he explains. The unemployment rate stood at a five-year low of 6.7 percent in December.

In addition, the factory utilization rate will soon break 80 percent, and industrial commodities prices have gained appreciably since October. Also, economies in all parts of the world are now growing — "a synchronized recovery" — and money velocity is increasing, he adds.

"If you put all those together, I think that could cause people to worry about overheating or inflation," Paulsen notes.

"I don't think we have a serious inflation problem, but we could have a serious fear of inflation."

For now, though, the financial community's emphasis is on the lack of inflation. "The price data continue to deliver the same message: no signs of inflation pressures in the U.S. economy,” Laura Rosner, an economist at BNP Paribas, tells The Associated Press.

Guy Berger, an economist at RBS Securities, tells Bloomberg, "Core inflation [which excludes food and energy] is going to gradually, gradually converge to the 2 percent target that the Fed has."

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