Fed Faces New Deflation Concerns With Limited Options

Current price levels and related trends are similar today to recent periods when deflation fears forced the Federal Reserve to ease policy. Commodity prices have been on a steady decline since mid-2011 and non-petroleum import prices have contracted at a 1.2 percent pace during the last 12 months. Given personal consumption expenditure (PCE) inflation of only 0.7 percent and an associated core PCE of 1.1 percent – both of which are important in policy deliberations – Fed officials would be justified in their concern.

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