October inflation data shows prices reaching 30 year highs
Inflation continues to roar ahead in the U.S., hitting yet another 30 year high, this time in October.
Prices rose across a wide swath of items people use in their daily lives:
Fuel oil prices soared 12.3% for the month, part of a 59.1% increase over the past year. Energy prices overall rose 4.8% in October and are up 30% for the 12-month period.
Used vehicle prices again were a big contributor, rising 2.5% on the month and 26.4% for the year. New vehicle prices were up 1.4% and 9.8%, respectively.
Food prices also showed a sizeable bounce, up 0.9% and 5.3% respectively. Within the food category, meat, poultry, fish and eggs collectively rose 1.7% for the month and 11.9% year over year.
The problem is made worse because wages are not rising nearly as fast as prices:
In a separate report, the Labor Department said real wages after inflation fell 0.5% from September to October, the product of a 0.4% increase in average hourly earnings that was more than offset by the CPI surge.
Shelter costs, which make up one-third of the CPI computation, increased 0.5% for the month and are now up 3.5% on a year-over-year basis, pointing to more reasons for concern that inflation could be more persistent than policymakers anticipate. The annual pace is the highest since September 2019.
Perhaps it comes as no surprise, but investors are looking at other assets to hedge against inflation. Once upon a time, that meant gold. Now, it’s cryptocurrency:
The rise in the token can, at least partly, be explained through the fundamental argument — which has gained traction in recent months — that Bitcoin can act as an inflation hedge. Crypto backers argue that, unlike dollars or any other traditional currency, the digital coin is designed to have a limited supply, so it can’t be devalued by a government or a central bank distributing too much of it.
Which is one reason why so many governments look upon crypto as a threat to be tamed, or better yet, rendered useless.