Federal Reserve Doesn't Have an Inflation Problem: Economist

Inflation has been weak in recent months, but one economist doesn't think the Federal Reserve has an inflation problem.
Author:
Publish date:

Inflation has been weak in recent months, but one economist doesn't think the Federal Reserve has an inflation problem. The consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday, matching economists' expectations. Excluding food and energy prices, the CPI rose 0.3 percent, slightly ahead of forecasts. 'Don't look month-over-month, look year-over-year,' said Bob Johnson, director of economic analysis at Chicago-based Morningstar. On a year-over-year basis, while the CPI dropped 0.2 percent, core CPI rose 1.8 percent. The Federal Reserve's inflation target is 2 percent. While central bankers acknowledge inflation is low, they have indicated that short-term interest rates, which have remained near zero for over six years, won't rise until they are reasonably confident that inflation moves back towards its target. Investors are watching the banking sector, as higher rates could mean more profits for big banks. The S&P 500 Financials sector, which includes banks like JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs Group (GS), rose 2.8 percent since the start of May. TheStreet's Scott Gamm reports from New York.