After unexpectedly sliding last month in what was the largest monthly decline since 2013, the latest NY Fed Survey of Consumer Expectations found that the median inflation expectation at the one-year horizon rebounded sharply higher from 5.79% in Jan – the lowest since October – back to 6.00%, matching an all-time high, while the median point prediction surged to 7.5% from 7.1%, also the highest on record.
Over the next year, consumers expect gasoline prices to rise 8.82%; food prices to rise 9.23%; medical costs to rise 9.59%; the price of a college education to rise 9%; rent prices to rise 10.05%. Expect all of these to surge in coming weeks.
Older Americans were the most pessimistic about future gains in consumer prices.
The data suggest that consumers view the current elevated inflation as more long-lasting than just a few weeks ago.
But while longer-term inflation expectations may have ebbed, it is fears about the coming commodity hyperinflation that will push near-term inflation expectations to all-time highs next month. Indeed, we are already seeing a panic rush to buy ahead of even higher prices as median year-ahead household spending growth expectations soared to 6.39% from 5.54%, the highest on record in available data going back to 2013. The increase was broad-based across age, income, and education groups, the report notes.