Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Anchors Away

The Fed has a myriad of ways to gauge inflation. One of the things I pay close attention to is when it switches from measure A to measure B, where the only benefit in doing so is to say that inflation is lower.

It is well known that Bernanke is a big proponent of "inflation expectations". This can be quantified by looking at futures prices and the year over year change in consumer expectation surveys.

The REcapitulator thinks surveys are biased and silly when attempting to gather data for the analysis of macro trends, but futures prices are useful, and far more informative than governmental forecasts. Bernanke and the Fed has cited oil futures prices as a useful guide for inflation expectations - oil is becoming a store of value as its price moves inversely with the U.S. dollar.

So, when looking at oil futures prices (Feb 09 Price: 112.60), I wonder what will the Fed switch to when trying to say inflation expectations are anything but "anchored"?

Consistency in measurement would help the Fed's credibility at this point.

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