The U.S. inflation narrative has flipped. In 2018 and 2019, one of investors’ prevailing worries was that inflationary pressures were increasing and the U.S. economy could start overheating under policymakers’ noses.
Late in 2018, deteriorating global conditions shifted the economic landscape and fueled concerns that inflationary pressures could be too low, hinting of an impending U.S. economic slowdown. Investors have dealt with several cases of whiplash from changing narratives and policy speculation in this expansion. When that has happened, we’ve leaned toward data for direction. Even though investors’ perception of inflation have changed, we see signs that lower inflation fears could be fleeting [Figure 1].