Energy and food prices, in particular, are denting people’s wallets, with food prices up 6.1% compared to last year and energy prices up more than 33%, the Consumer Price Index for November showed last week, as reported by The Food Institute Focus.
An Intuit QuickBooks survey released Monday (Dec. 13) indicated 97% of business owners and consumers are worried about inflation, with 45% saying it’s the biggest threat they face. Sixty-three percent said they planned to raise prices in the next three months.
Inflationary pressures prompted Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to say the central bank would accelerate plans to scale back its bond-buying program and could start raising interest rates sooner than had been planned.
“Inflationary pressures are building in the economy and that is going to force the Fed’s hand,” Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance, told Yahoo! Finance. “Specifically, the Fed is going to have to increase the pace of their tapering plans – potentially reducing their buying twice as quickly, down by $30 billion/month instead of $15 billion/month – and then look to either balance sheet reduction (i.e., outright selling of bonds that they’ve already purchased) or interest rate hikes, in order to combat inflation.”