Where's the Inflation?

by: Mark J. Perry
According to today's BEA report, the annual inflation rate for Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) for the first quarter of 2011 is 1.6%, well below (less than half) of the average 3.6% rate back to 1960 (see top chart above). Annual inflation for the PCE Index less food and energy is 0.90% for the first quarter, just slightly higher than the 0.8% in QIV 2010, which was 0.8% (see bottom chart above). The only two quarters in more than fifty years going back to 1960 when the core PCE Inflation was less than 1% were the last two quarters.

So I ask: Where's the inflation? It's sure not showing up yet in PCE inflation, and core PCE is suggesting deflationary, not inflationary, pressure.