Higher Oil Prices Will Stoke Inflation Expectations

By Bryan Rich 

November 3, 2017, 4:00pm EST

BR caricatureAs we head into the weekend, we’re closing in on the holidays and year-end. The performance of stocks continue to reflect a world where companies are strong, and consumers are strong.

With 81% of the S&P 500 companies reported for the third quarter, the numbers have continued to be very good – 74% have beat the street’s earnings estimates, 66% have beat on revenues. So we’ve now had 13.9% yoy growth in S&P 500 earnings in the first quarter, 11.3% yoy earnings growth in the second quarter, and 5.9% yoy growth in the third quarter. And these are companies that are as lean and financially sound as they’ve been in a long time.

And as we’ve discussed, we’re getting fiscal stimulus into an economy that’s already fundamentally strong.

With that, you would expect the price of everything to be rising. Here’s a look at major global stocks, commodities, currencies and interest rates year-to-date.

Almost everything is rising.


Housing is strong. The stock market is strong. The broad commodities markets are strong. But as you can see, interest rates have barely budged. While asset price inflation has been hot, the Fed’s favored measure of inflation (core PCE) has not.

But as I’ve said, although the Fed likes to say they ignore volatile energy prices, with crude oil on the move (the highs of the year today), expect that to make its way into their inflation readings.

The oil price crash of last year gave them nightmares of deflation fighting. The higher oil prices go, the more the Fed will begin stepping UP their inflation forecasts. And market interest rates could have a violent catch up to the rise across the other asset classes.

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