18 Apr COTW: The Consumer Squeeze
- The latest CPI print seems to show good news: Inflation increased by 5.0% year-over-year, and is finally showing signs of easing after peaking at 9.1% in June 2022. However, this is still well above the Federal Reserve’s 2.0% target, which means that there’s still a way to go before prices stabilize. Wages have been unable to keep up with the still-elevated levels of inflation. The latest report revealed that real wage growth has been negative for 24 consecutive months, since March 2021, and is officially the longest period of negative wage growth on record.
- Higher inflation is not only affecting wage growth. As the Fed has been hiking rates in efforts to bring inflation back under control, the interest rate on credit cards has skyrocketed. On April 12, the average credit card interest rate in the U.S. hit a record-high level of 20.2%. This marks a 40% increase from a year ago.
- Thus far, consumers have been able to handle negative real wage growth and record-high credit card rates by dipping into excess savings accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as these savings start to deplete, the question arises as to how much longer the consumer will be able to rely on excess savings to sustain the U.S. economy.
The material shown is for informational purposes only. Any opinions expressed are current only as of the time made and are subject to change without notice. This report may include estimates, projections or other forward-looking statements; however, forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks, and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements. As a practical matter, no entity is able to accurately and consistently predict future market activities. Additionally, please be aware that past performance is not a guide to the future performance of any investment, and that the performance results and historical information provided displayed herein may have been adversely or favorably impacted by events and economic conditions that will not prevail in the future. Therefore, it should not be inferred that these results are indicative of the future performance of any strategy, index, fund, manager or group of managers. The graphs and tables making up this report have been based on unaudited, third-party data and performance information provided to us by one or more commercial databases. While we believe this information to be reliable, SpringTide Partners bears no responsibility whatsoever for any errors or omissions.
Index benchmarks contained in this report are provided so that performance can be compared with the performance of well-known and widely recognized indices. Index results assume the re-investment of all dividends and interest. The information provided is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, investment, legal or tax advice. Nothing contained herein should be construed as a recommendation or advice to purchase or sell any security, investment, or portfolio allocation. This presentation is not meant as a general guide to investing, or as a source of any specific investment recommendations, and makes no implied or express recommendations concerning the manner in which any client’s accounts should or would be handled, as appropriate investment decisions depend upon the client’s specific investment objectives.
SpringTide Partners, LLC is a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission; registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. For more detail, including information about SpringTide’s business practices and conflicts identified, please refer to SpringTide Partners’ Form ADV Part 2a and Form CRS at: https://www.springtide-partners.com/disclosures