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Today’s new release covering September makes it two straight lousy official reports on the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of U.S. inflation – the price index for Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE). At least as bad: The new figures come on top of lousy September reports on the Consumer Price Index and on price increases at the wholesale level (the Producer Price Index).

The latter, of course, usually feeds future inflation at the consumer/retail level as long as businesses retain pricing power – which is clearly still the case because of all the cash households still have to spend due to humongous stimulus legislation and the Fed’s own historically off-the-charts efforts to juice the economy during the CCP Virus era.

The worst result from today’s PCE report came in the annual core numbers. They leave out food and energy prices, (supposedly because they’re volatile for reasons having little or nothing to do with the economy’s fundamental inflation prone-ness), and rose for the second straight month, from 4.9 percent to 5.1 percent. That’s the fastest increase since March’s 5.2 percent.

The best thing that can be said about the other September numbers is that they didn’t rise above multi-decade highs.

Headline PCE inflation stayed at the 6.2 percent it registered for August. It’s down from June’s peak of seven percent, but still way above the Fed’s target rate of two percent.

On a monthly basis, headline PCE increased by 0.3 percent in September and core PCEn by 0.5 percent. Both matched the August rates, too. The overall PCE advance was much better than its peak of one percent (also hit in June). But as recently as July, headline PCE dipped by 0.1 percent. So that actual deflation looks like a mere blip now.

Core PCE reveals a similar pattern. Month-to-month its high came in June as well, at 0.6 percent. In July, it flat-lined but has since rebounded strongly.

At this point, moreover, the only reasonable forecast for the foreseeable future is more towering inflation – and not just because most consumers’ finances are in very good shape. There are also all the new federal boosts to demand in the form of student loan forgiveness, the annual Social Security cost-of-living increase (justified, of course, by high inflation), and now the prospect that the Federal Reserve will indeed chicken out on the inflation-fighting front for fear of tipping the economy into recession. (For the record, I’m surprised at how far down the interest rate hike road the central bank has gone.)

In other words, consumer spending power looks certain to remain strong, and government could well back off from biting the bullet and taming inflation by choking off growth in order to limit that spending. (Serious efforts to employ the other fundamental inflation-fighting tactic, boosting production and therefore the supply of goods and services to close the gap with demand, appear off the table for now as well.) The only big uncertainty that’s left continues to be how long this party can last.