Reinhart Week in Review by Madison Investments 9.15.2023


Consumer prices (CPI) rose 0.6% in August and are up 3.7 year-over-year. Core CPI increased 0.3% but is up 4.3% over the trailing twelve months. Producer prices rose 0.7% in August and 1.6% over the last year.

Our Take: Rising gasoline prices drove headline CPI higher, though core CPI growth did come in one-tenth higher than expected. The slightly higher CPI print is unlikely to change the minds of any Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voters and the markets still believe that the Fed will leave rates unchanged at their meeting next week.


The ECB raised their key policy rate 25 basis points to 4%. Lagarde emphasized that the rate is likely to stay at this level for an extended period of time and refused to rule out further increases if inflation does not return to the 2% target. Politicians from Italy and Portugal condemned the rate increase, and others from France and Spain encouraged the ECB to stop tightening.

Our Take: The ECB is positioning itself similarly to the Fed by trying to shift the focus from how much higher rates will go to how long rates will stay restrictive. The ECB is in a tougher position because Eurozone inflation is higher, so policy as measured by the real policy rate is not as restrictive as in the U.S. and Eurozone growth is lower. The ECB has a narrower path to a soft landing than the Fed, and the ECB is facing much more political pressure not to crimp growth.


Chinese retail sales and industrial production both beat expectations. Home sales and prices both extended declines seen in July.

Our Take: Accelerating consumer spending and manufacturing would help support economic growth, but declines in property values and excessive leverage are still headwinds to a long term pickup in growth.


August retail sales grew 0.6%, dramatically outpacing expectations of a 0.1% increase. Retail sales for July were revised down from previous reports.

Our Take: Revisions tempered some enthusiasm for the strong August sales report. Additionally, retail sales are not adjusted for inflation causing the headline to reflect higher inflation rather than true spending. However, the consumer is continuing to spend, and third quarter GDP is likely to be strong. If the strength continues, the hawks on the FOMC committee are likely to push for a rate hike in November.


Moody’s Investors Service revised Pennsylvania’s financial outlook from stable to positive. Moody’s cited the commonwealth’s “improved financial position” and credited the commonwealth’s budget practices and increased reserve funds as reasons for the outlook change.

Our Take: Pennsylvania has taken steps to improve its fiscal health and has been rewarded with the revised positive outlook. Pennsylvania has experienced revenue growth and has sound budget management. In addition, the commonwealth has moved money into its rainy-day fund over the last few years, including $2.1 billion during the last budget cycle bringing the current balance to $5.2 billion.

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The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services.

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