This week, investors will find out whether or not inflation has peaked.
On Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases its Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July. Economists predict a rise of 8.7% year-over-year compared with a 9.1% jump in June. On a monthly basis, the CPI is expected to rise 0.2% in July after jumping 1.3% in June, which marked the biggest monthly gain since September of 2005. The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is seen increasing 6.1% from a year ago, up from 5.9% previously.
On Thursday, the BLS will also release its Producer Price Index (PPI) for July. The consensus estimate is for a 10.4% increase from a year ago, down from June's 11.3% increase. The core PPI is expected to rise 7.7%, down from 8.2% the month before.
Over the past three months, commodity prices have fallen dramatically, which could impact the inflation data. The price of corn has dropped 24% over the past three months, while wheat prices have fallen by 27%, and soybean prices are down by 14%.
Oil and other energy prices have also fallen significantly. Light sweet crude is now down to $88 per barrel — below where it had been before Russia invaded Ukraine. Retail gas prices have fallen sharply, now approaching a national average of $4 per gallon in the U.S. compared to a peak of over $5 per gallon in June.
"Even though inflation may have peaked, consumers have stretched their balance sheets extensively, according to the New York Fed's quarterly report on household debt. According to the report, U.S. household debt surpassed $16 trillion for the first time on record during the second quarter, boosted by higher balances for mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards. While defaults and bankruptcies remain low, more months of high prices could compel consumers to hit the brakes on their spending," said Caleb Silver, Editor-in-Chief of Investopedia.