Consumer Sentiment Dims As Rates Push Lower To End The Week
Interest rates dipped on a surprisingly negative consumer sentiment report which was the worst reading since 2011. The report was a surprise given the strength of the economy over the past many months and considering the positive trends in inflation, individual finances, and employment. Earlier this week, reports of tapering inflation were welcomed news to the stock and bond market. However, producer prices ran hotter than expected, so the direction for inflation remains a bit unknown.
Fed members have started talking about initiating bond tapering as we see improvements in employment, increased housing prices, and stronger personal finances. Some voting Fed members are pushing for a tightening of asset purchases in September. However, Fed Chair Powell has been adamant that he wants to run the economy hot for longer even with robust GDP growth and the highest inflation readings in years. A cross-current of thinking abounds on where we go from here, but a careful eye must be kept on the bond market in the coming weeks for signals on the overall health of the consumer and potential supply chain disruptions due to the Delta variant and impacts on retail in the US and globally.