CPI Preview: Good, Bad, and Ugly

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What’s in Today’s Report:

  • CPI Preview – Good, Bad, and Ugly
  • Middle East Update: Understanding the Situation with Rafah

U.S. equity futures are lower with European shares as investors await today’s critical inflation data ahead of the bell while most Asian markets are closed for holidays.

Economically, the German ZEW Survey was mixed as Current Conditions deteriorated to -81.7 vs. (E) -79.0 but Economic Sentiment Improved to +19.9 vs. (E) +18.0. The headline miss is one more of several recent data points that suggests the German economy is slowing more rapidly than most anticipated.

Domestically, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index was disappointing as it fell to 89.9 vs. (E) 92.4 underscoring a downbeat and cautious mood among small business owners despite economic data otherwise pointing to continued resilience in the U.S. economy.

Today, focus will be almost exclusively on the CPI report (8:30 a.m. ET) with the headline expected to come in at 0.2% m/m and 3.0% y/y while the Core CPI figure is expected to come in at 0.3% m/m and 3.7% y/y (full scenario analysis in today’s report).

There are no Fed speakers on the calendar or Treasury auction scheduled for today which will leave the session likely dominated by how the market digests the latest inflation data. Market-based Fed policy rate expectations are currently pricing in a 16% chance of a March rate cut and a 56% chance of a May cut. If those two figures decline materially, especially the latter one, expect an extension of yesterday’s intraday pullback.

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