Inflation Soars 5%! Will Gold Skyrocket?

With the CPI annual inflation rate spiking 5% in May, gold could have gained a lot in response. However, it rallied only $20. Should we prepare for more?

Whoa! Inflation soared 5% in May – quite a lot for a nonexistent (or transitory) phenomenon! But let’s start from the beginning. The CPI rose 0.6% in May, after increasing 0.8% in April. Meanwhile, the core CPI, which excludes food and energy, soared 0.7%, following a 0.9% jump in April. So, given that the pace of the monthly inflation rate decelerated, we shouldn’t worry about inflation, right? Well… we should.

First of all, inflation was higher than expected, as the consensus forecast was a 0.4% increase. Inflation surprised pundits once again, but not me. Last month, I wrote in the Fundamental Gold Report that “Inflation escalated in April. In May, however, inflation could be softer, but it will remain relatively elevated, in my view” – and this is exactly what happened. However, the unexpected rise in inflation is positive news for gold, as such a surprise should decrease the real interest rates.

Second, pundits cannot blame energy prices for this jump, as the energy index was flat. Apart from energy and medical care services, which decreased slightly, all index components increased last month. In particular, the index for used cars and trucks soared again (7.3%). Also, the indexes for new vehicles and apparel surged in May, which shows that inflationary pressure is broad-based.

Last but definitely not least, the latest BLS report on inflation reveals that the overall CPI skyrocketed 5% for the 12 months ending May (before seasonal adjustment), followed by a 4.2% spike in April. For context, the annual inflation rate has been trending up every month since January, when the 12-month change was just 1.4%. Therefore, we’ve just seen the largest move since a 5.4% jump for the period ending in August 2008, just one month before the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers that triggered the global financial crisis and deflationary Great Recession.

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Disclaimer: Please note that the aim of the above analysis is to discuss the likely long-term impact of the featured phenomenon on the price of gold and this analysis does not indicate (nor does ...

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