Wednesday, February 1, 2023

National Financial Conditions Index And Inflation

The Chicago Fed publishes a national financial conditions index (NFCI) which rises when conditions tighten (eg when interest rates rise and risk appetite decreases).  Obviously, as financial conditions tighten the economy faces headwinds and slows down, while inflation also eases (at least theoretically).

Here's a chart of NFCI (blue line) and CPI inflation (red line).

NFCI And Inflation

An immediate conclusion here is that financial conditions are still rather loose (blue line below zero) while inflation is still near historic highs.  And that's despite the Fed's rapid increase in interest rates.

If history is any guide, it will take much tighter financial conditions to bring down inflation to more manageable levels.

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