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Commodities set to keep inflation hot

July 27, 2023
clock 5 MIN READ

Central banks around the globe began hiking interest rates in an effort to bring it down. Even though most measures have shown that inflation is cooling, SEI believes expectations for future inflation may still be too low.

Simply put, much of the recently lower inflation can be attributed to falling commodity prices. In our view, the trend in commodities seems ready to reverse higher, and higher commodity prices feed into costs and can contribute to inflation staying higher for longer.

Consumer prices jumped in 2008 ahead of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC), and then swung lower as the crisis took hold. Inflation trends reverted following the GFC and consumers enjoyed a relatively stable decade of modest inflation until COVID-19 shook the world. Following a brief but sharp decline, inflation as measured by the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) soared to over 9% for the year ended June 2022. Inflation has notably cooled since then, and much of that can be attributed to falling energy prices. As shown in Exhibit 1, inflation for the all items CPI—which includes more volatile food and energy costs—is significantly less than the all items less food and energy CPI.

Looking at the trends in CPI, investors may believe that the inflation fight is nearing its end. Indeed many investors expect central banks to end their rate hiking cycles over the next few months or quarters, and then even cut rates at some point next year. As much as we would enjoy inflation receding to around 2%, we do not share that same optimistic view and see numerous reasons why inflation will potentially be higher for longer.

Important information

Diversification may not protect against market risk. There is no assurance the goals of the strategies discussed will be met.

This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. Positioning and holdings are subject to change. Statements that are not factual in nature, including opinions, projections and estimates, assume certain economic conditions and industry developments and constitute only current opinions that are subject to change without notice. Nothing herein is intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. All information as of the date indicated. There are risks involved with investing, including possible loss of principal. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice, (unless you have otherwise separately entered into a written agreement with SEI for the provision of investment advice) nor should it be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell a security. The reader should consult with their financial professional for more information.

Certain economic and market information contained herein has been obtained from published sources prepared by other parties, which in certain cases have not been updated through the date hereof. While such sources are believed to be reliable, neither SEI nor its affiliates assumes any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of such information and such information has not been independently verified by SEI.

James Solloway

Chief Market Strategist and Senior Portfolio Manager

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