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Recession Rumblings Amplified Post U.S. CPI

By Ashraf LaidiMarket OverviewMay 12, 2022 01:39AM ET
Recession Rumblings Amplified Post U.S. CPI
By Ashraf Laidi   |  May 12, 2022 01:39AM ET
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Readers of this column went from vaccine "experts" to Russia connoisseurs and yield curve whizes, while picking up a few nuggets about bear market corrections.

So let's move to the more controversial subject of inflation. Whether it's transitory or not is not the question. Wednesday's release of US April CPI showed a long-awaited pullback, printing 8.3% y/y from 8.5% in March—the first slowdown since August. Here's how it may play out.


The CPI pullback emerged largely from slowing energy prices and retreating prices of used autos. Since the former is expected to push back up due to rebounding gasoline prices, deflationistas will hope for an offset from prolonged declines in used autos.

The challenge ahead for traders is to figure out when markets shift their focus from inflation to recession. The simultaneous accelerating decline in bond yields and tech stocks (around 2 pm Eastern) may have been related to robust demand in the 10yr auction, but keep an eye on the big picture. Read on…

Gold rebounded $25 from 1832, while bond yields resumed the week's decline alongside a fresh selloff in stocks. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) hit a new low for the year, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) broke its 6-year trendline and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) extended its losses to -75% from the highs.

The stocks-bonds damage to “SuperPortfolios” is officially joining the damage to “WorkingClass” purchasing power to break consumer demand/growth and corrode that wealth effect.

Recession rumblings were amplified yesterday after CPI went from 8.5% to 8.3%. Imagine what noise the “stag” part will do when “flation” goes from 8.3% to 8.0%...or below 8.0%. Let's not even look at the month-month figures.

Don't forget the yield curve metric. Many think we need to see another round of inversion to spell recession. Wrong. Any continued steepening from current levels will mean the doves are coming around.

But if the 3-5 spread soon drops below zero from its current 0.06 and 2-10 nears 0.10 from 0.28, then it might take a bit longer.

Currency developments also bear watching. German-US 10 yr spread has continued to stabilize alongside EUR/USD, and EUR/GBP is strengthening its negative correlation with risk assets. Then you have gold, which is fighting to hold above its 200-DMA and August trendline.

We're not sure what will come first: A sub 5.0% inflation print in the US, or an official recession declaration from the US NBER.

But here's my latest call: By the time US CPI drops near 6%, we'd see a steeper yield curve, a more confident Fed (with its inflation-taming efforts) and weaker growth.

Metals will get their next wave of vigor once markets realize consumer prices have settled at a higher low.

Recession Rumblings Amplified Post U.S. CPI

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Recession Rumblings Amplified Post U.S. CPI

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Comments (1)
Gabriel Macharia
Gabriel Macharia May 13, 2022 2:16AM ET
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Ashraf, I'm new to economics but your explanations are very clear and for a neophyte like me that goes a long way.
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