Forex Market Analysis: Key Insights on US Inflation and Fed’s Policy Path

March 12, 2024

US Inflation Preview: Impact on Gold, USD, and Stocks

Event Highlight: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to release February’s CPI data on March 12, 2024, crucial for investors and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

Headline CPI Forecast: Expected increase of 0.4% for February, driven by higher energy costs, maintaining the annual rate at 3.1%.

Core CPI Forecast: Anticipated to rise by 0.3% month-over-month, with the year-over-year rate potentially decreasing to 3.7% from 3.9%.

Market Volatility: Deviations from market expectations could cause significant asset price movements.

Upside Surprise: Higher-than-expected CPI may indicate persistent inflation, potentially leading to upward adjustments in the Fed’s PCE forecast and fewer rate cuts. This could result in higher bond yields and USD, pressuring gold prices and stocks.

Downside Surprise: Lower-than-forecast CPI might confirm disinflation progress, supporting expectations for multiple rate cuts in 2024. This scenario could decrease yields and the USD, benefiting gold prices and risk assets.


Market Summary:

Key Data Point: February’s CPI report, crucial for the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate decision, will be closely watched by investors on Tuesday.

Headline Inflation Expectation: Forecasted to be 3.1%, aligning with January’s annual price increase, signaling potential interest rate cuts by the Fed later this year.

Monthly Increase: Consumer prices expected to rise by 0.4%, slightly up from January’s 0.3% increase, mainly driven by higher energy and gasoline prices.

Core Inflation Slowdown: February’s core inflation (excluding food and gas) anticipated to rise by 3.7% year-over-year, down from January’s 3.9%, with a monthly increase expected at 0.3%.

Shelter and Core Services Costs: Despite the expected deceleration in shelter costs, core inflation remains high due to persistent costs in shelter, insurance, and medical care.

OER Inflation: Bank of America predicts a narrowing gap between rent inflation and owners’ equivalent rent (OER) due to an expected slowdown in OER inflation, contrasting with last month’s acceleration.

Fed’s Rate Decision Outlook: Market anticipates the Fed to keep rates unchanged next week, with a significant expectation of rate cuts starting in June, influenced by core CPI outcomes.

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