Friday, February 23, 2007

Oil, Inflation and Interest Rates

From Bernanke's recent Congressional testimony:

I turn now to the inflation situation. As I noted earlier, there are some indications that inflation pressures are beginning to diminish. The monthly data are noisy, however, and it will consequently be some time before we can be confident that underlying inflation is moderating as anticipated. Recent declines in overall inflation have primarily reflected lower prices for crude oil, which have fed through to the prices of gasoline, heating oil, and other energy products used by consumers. After moving higher in the first half of 2006, core consumer price inflation has also edged lower recently, reflecting a relatively broad-based deceleration in the prices of core goods. That deceleration is probably also due to some extent to lower energy prices, which have reduced costs of production and thereby lessened one source of pressure on the prices of final goods and services. The ebbing of core inflation has likely been promoted as well by the stability of inflation expectations.

Translation: Lower oil prices are a big reason for declining inflation.

Here's an oil chart the includes today's close:

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Ben's not happy right now.