Tags: Boockvar | inflation | unemployment | commodity

CNBC: 'Perfect Storm' for Inflation

By    |   Monday, 10 March 2014 10:10 AM

An improving job market and rising commodity prices could push inflation higher, experts say.

The government reported Friday that non-farm payrolls rose 175,000 in February and the unemployment rate stood at 6.7 percent.

More telling, the U-6, which includes all unemployed workers, plus marginally attached workers and workers employed part-time for economic reasons, fell from 12.7 percent to 12.6 percent. This shows that the "slack" in the labor market — which allows companies to hire more employees without increasing pay — is falling.

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38 Trades That Could Turn $1,000 Into $49,000

The labor market could be tightening, analysts tell CNBC.

"Measuring slack is not an easy thing, but an unemployment rate of 6.7 [percent] tells you there's a lot less slack than there used to be," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, tells the news service. "The labor market is getting tighter than the [Federal Reserve] thinks."

And that means "the inflation trend is going to start moving higher. It's not a single event that will happen — it's a process. But it's definitely worth watching," he warns.

"The broad consensus is that there's no inflation. But if there's one thing that mucks up Fed policy, it's a faster-than-expected uptick in inflation," Boockvar adds. "If that happens, the Fed isn't just behind the curve — they're behind 10 curves."

Consumer prices rose 1.6 percent in the year through January.

As for commodity prices, the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index has gained 8 percent so far this year. "Increasing commodity prices will drive a rise in inflation," Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, tells CNBC.

"It's a natural reaction to the recent growth as well as the geopolitical uncertainly that is happening in the global economy."

To be sure, some remain unconcerned about inflation.

After the government reported that consumer prices rose only 0.1 percent in January, Julia Coronado, chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas, tells Bloomberg, "There is very little pricing power for businesses. There doesn’t seem to be any need [for the Fed] to tighten policy any time soon."

Editor’s Note: 38 Trades That Could Turn $1,000 Into $49,000

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An improving job market and rising commodity prices could push inflation higher, experts say.
Boockvar,inflation,unemployment,commodity
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2014-10-10
Monday, 10 March 2014 10:10 AM
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