(Bloomberg) -- This year’s surge in inflation seems to be broader than the picture presented by concentrating on a few outliers with big gains, such as used cars, a St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank economist found.
“When looking at the overall price change over the period, the role of outliers is greatly diminished, revealing that higher inflation is perhaps a broader phenomenon,” Fernando Martin, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, wrote in a recent blog.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell last week acknowledged that inflation was persisting longer than U.S. central bankers had expected and he flagged the risk that higher prices would continue.
The blog looked at various ways to consider inflation trends, including the use of trimmed mean measures that eliminate the biggest changes in either direction, as well as looking at prices for goods relative to services as there has been a move away from spending on services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The shift in the distribution of inflation appears more generalized across categories,” Martin wrote in the blog, which was posted Oct. 19.
The Federal Open Market Committee meets next week and is expected to announce scaling back asset purchases currently running at $120 billion a month, taking a step toward the exit from monetary support rolled out to shield the economy last year from the effects of Covid-19.
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