Core inflation is the change in the price of the goods and services that do take food and energy into account. It is referred to as ‘core’ because it represents the most accurate illustration of the underlying inflation trends. The reason for the exclusion of food and energy is due to its high volatility. They change so often that they may depict an inaccurate reading of the inflation rate. And the commodity market is the sole cause behind the volatility, as it extensively traded all day.
Why Exactly Food and Energy are Excluded
As already mentioned, Food and Energy are exempted from the calculation of core inflation because the volatility in these markets is too high. This reduces the accuracy of the core inflation rates. Food and energy are considered as the most necessary staples; that is, their demand does not change even if there is a price hike. For instance, let’s say the gas prices rise due to the rise in oil prices. But this rise will hardly affect you as you’ll still need to fill up your tank in order to drive your vehicle. Similarly, you will not become hesitant to go to the grocery store because the prices have risen.
Oil and gas are commodities that are traded on the exchange market where people can buy and sell them. The commodity traded bid on the oil prices when they suspect a fall in supply or a rise in demand. Also, the thick that war will bring down the supply of oil. With this assumption and analysis, they buy at the present price and anticipate a higher price in the future. And this is enough to pump up the oil prices in the market. And if things don’t go as per the plan, the prices fall when they sell. Hence, this creates high volatility in the market.
The food prices are dependent on the prices of gas. The food prices tend to rise along with the gas prices because transportation of the food is dependent on trucking. When the oil prices rise, the effect can be seen in the gas price a week later. And if the gas prices maintain its uptrend, the effect of it can be observed on the food prices a few weeks later.
Measuring Core Inflation
The core inflation is measured by both the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the core Personal Consumption Expenditure Index (PCE). The PCE is the depiction of the prices of goods and services purchased by consumers in the United States. Also, since inflation determines the trend in trend in the rising prices, the PCE is a vital metric in assessing inflation. However, both PCE and CPI are considered to be very similar as both help in determining the inflation in the economy.
CPI and PCE – Which is the Preferred Measure?
It is observed that PCE tends to provide inflation rates that are less affected by the short-term price changes, which is why the Federal Reserve prefers the PCE index over the CPI. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), a division of the Department of Commerce, measures the rates by using the existing gross domestic product (GDP) data, which helps in determining the overall trend in the prices. The GDP gives the measure of the total production of goods and services. In addition, BEA takes in the monthly Retail Survey data and compares it with the consumer prices generated by the CPI. In doing so, the data irregularities are removed, which helps in providing long-term trends.
Why is Core Inflation Important?
It is important to asses core inflation because it determines the relationship between the price of the goods and services and the level of the consumer income. If there is an increase in the price of the goods and services and no proportional increase in consumer income, consumer buying power will decrease. So, we can conclude that inflation causes the value of money to depreciate compared to the prices of goods and services.
However, if the consumer income increases, but the price of the goods and services remains unchanged, consumers will theoretically have money buying power. Moreover, there will be an increase in the investment portfolio, which leads to asset inflation. And this can generate additional money for consumers to spend.
Core Inflation and its Impact on the Economy and Currency
Core inflation has both a subtle and destructive effect on economic growth. It is said to be subtle because an increase of one or two percent takes quite a while. However, this can have a positive effect at this rate as well. People purchase goods and services beforehand, knowing that price will rise in the near future. Hence, this increase in demand stimulates economic growth. And since currency depends directly on the economy, the price of the currency rises as well.
Inflation can have a negative effect on the economy, as well. That’s because people will have to spend how much ever high price on food and gas, as they are the essentials. This brings down other consumer sectors in the market because people tend to spend less here. Their businesses are less profitable now. This imbalance in the market lowers the economic output.
Reliable sources of data for Core Inflation
The core inflation rate is released by the countries’ statistics board. For most countries, it is released on a monthly basis. And the reports are in terms of percentages. Below is a list of sources of core inflation data for different countries.
How does Core Inflation Affect the Price Charts?
Until now, we understood the definition of Core inflation and its impact on the economy and the currency. Here we shall see the immediate effect of the currency pair when the reports are released. For our example, we will be taking the U.S. dollar for our reference. The core inflation rate in the U.S. is released by the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics. The frequency of the announcement of data is monthly.
Below is the core inflation data released by the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics for the month of February. But, the data for it is announced in the first week of March. We can see that the core inflation has turned to be 2.4 percent, which is 0.1 percent higher than the previous month and the forecasted value. Now, let’s see how this value has affected the U.S. Dollar.
EUR/USD | Before the Announcement – (March 11, 2020 | Before 12:30 GMT)
Below is the chart of the EUR/USD on the 15min timeframe just before the release of the news.
EUR/USD | After the Announcement – (March 11, 2020 | After 12:30 GMT)
Below is the same chart of EUR/USD on the 15min timeframe after the release of the news. The news candle has been represented in the chart as well. It is evident from the chart that the news did not have any effect on the currency pair. Though the reports showed an increase in the core inflation, there was hardly any drastic pip movement in the pair. Also, the volatility was below the average, and the volume was low. With this, we can come to the conclusion that the core inflation rate did not impact the EUR/USD.
GBP/USD | Before the Announcement – (March 11, 2020 | Before 12:30 GMT)
GBP/USD | After the Announcement – (March 11, 2020 | After 12:30 GMT)
Consider the below chart of GBP/USD on the 15min timeframe. We can see that the news candle was a bearish candle. That is, the news was positive for the U.S. Dollar. However, if we were to check on the volatility of the market, the volatility when the news came out was at the average value. Seeing the volume bar corresponding to the candle, it wasn’t high as such. Hence, the core inflation did not impact the GBP/USD.
Traders who wish to trade this pair can freely go ahead with their analysis as the news has a very light impact on the USD.
USD/CAD | Before the Announcement – (March 11, 2020 | Before 12:30 GMT)
USD/CAD | After the Announcement – (March 11, 2020 | After 12:30 GMT)
Below is the USD/CAD candlestick chart on the 15min timeframe after the release of the news. The news showed an increase in the core inflation rate by 0.1 percent. In the chart, we can see that the report turned out to be positive for the USD. In fact, the news candle actually broke the supply level and went above it. Compared to EUR/USD and GBP/USD, the core inflation had a decent impact on USD/CAD. However, the volatility was at the average mark, and the volume didn’t really spike up.
Core inflation is an economic indicator that measures the inflation of an economy without considering food and energy. This is because of the high volatility in the food and energy market. The core inflation rates are usually taken from the CPI or the PCE. This is an important indicator as it determines the relationship between the price of goods and services and consumer income.
It also gives an idea of the current economy of a nation. However, when it comes to its effect on the currency, there is not much impact on it. So, conservative traders can trade the markets without fearing the release of the news, as there is no drastic rise in the volatility of the markets.