I can’t believe that the price of a barrel of oil is around $69.00- $70.00. I know it’s the summer-driving season, but oil prices don’t seem to ever experience any sustained pullback in value now.
This worries me because of its inflationary implications. You’ve all heard about the core CPI (consumer price index), which strips out food and energy prices due to their volatility. But in reality, we all consume oil-based products (more than we think).
So, along with food, does the core CPI really matter? We all need food, and it’s pretty easy to argue we all need oil, so maybe we’re following the wrong inflation figure. Maybe the real CPI number to consider should be the non-core figure. If this is the case, then we’re in for trouble.
With the price of oil trading around $70.00 a barrel, then inflation is a problem and so too will interest rates. It’s unavoidable. The main CPI figure is running about double the core CPI figure, and current interest rate levels are not high enough to contain the rapid rise in prices. In a global economy, developing nations with higher growth and higher inflation are contributing to our situation.
The kicker is that we can’t really do anything about it. We all have to go with the flow and deal with higher inflation and interest rates. In a way, a slowing economy would be good for the current situation. Regardless, the Federal Reserve holds all the cards this year, and the stock market is at its whim.
Who knows what the future will bring? Over the near-term, stock market investors will be focused on second-quarter earnings season. After that, we could get a correction.