Feb 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

What has happened to inflation

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, reproduced from Deutsche Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

For the past 25 years, the U.S. has seen zero inflation in goods and 3% to 4% inflation in services.

Details: Goods are things you buy in stores and services are housing, health care and education, Deutsche Bank Securities chief economist Torsten Slok notes. The weight to goods in the CPI index is 1/3 and the weight to services is 2/3.

What's happening: Slok said in a recent note to clients...

"[There's] more openness to foreign trade holding down goods inflation, higher productivity growth in manufacturing than in services holding down inflation on goods, and higher growth in demand for services as per capita income rises and the population ages. "Looking ahead, for higher inflation to become a problem, we either need to see goods inflation move higher, for example because of a significant dollar depreciation, or we need to see even higher inflation in the costs of housing, healthcare and education."

Go deeper: The great bond selloff signals concerns about inflation

Go deeper

Fund managers are getting a bit more bearish

Bangladeshi workers preparing reinforcing steel at a construction site in Dhaka on Feb. 16. Photo: Mamunur Rashid/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Expectations of global growth were cut in half in the latest Bank of America survey of asset managers.

What's happening: The survey showed money managers are less bullish this month than in January, but had also cut their cash holdings to 4.0% from 4.2%, which was the lowest since March 2013.

The Fed may be setting the table for 2020 rate cuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed looks to be laying the groundwork to lower U.S. interest rates this year, just as they did in April 2019 before cutting rates in July, September and October.

Why it matters: A Fed rate cut makes taking on debt more attractive for U.S. consumers and businesses, helping to juice the economy, but also puts the central bank in a weaker position to fight off a potential recession.

Gold rising with stocks, yen falling with bond yields

Data; FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Markets are behaving strangely as investors attempt to make sense of the growing threat of the novel coronavirus. Assets that typically move in opposite directions are moving together, and assets that traditionally are very correlated are taking inverse tracks.

State of play: The market's two most popular safe-haven assets, gold and the Japanese yen, have decoupled and are moving in opposite directions.