Annualizer: New Indicator + CPI Analysis

This indicator calculates the annualized month-over-month percent change of a cumulative index and plots it alongside the year-over-year percent change for comparison. It was developed for the purpose of analyzing the inflation rate of CPI indexes such as “CPIAUCSL.” It can also be used on M2 money supply and pretty much any cumulative index. It will not produce useful outputs on percent change indexes such as “USCCPI” because it performs percent change calculations which are already applied to those indexes.

This indicator takes data from the monthly chart, regardless of how often the data is reported or what the timeframe of the current chart is. Doing so allows it to work on all timeframes while displaying only monthly data outputs but limits it from recognizing data which might be released more often than once per month. This limitation should be suitable for macroeconomic data such as CPI and M2 money supply which are usually analyzed on a month-to-month basis.

If the ticker symbol is "M2SL" which is M2 money supply, annualized percent change is plotted in green, otherwise, it’s plotted in blue.

CPI analysis:

Upon deploying this indicator, it was observed that the year-over-year (YoY) inflation rate (red) is a lagging indicator of the annualized month-over-month (MoM) inflation rate (blue) and that it appears to almost be a moving average of it. A moving average plot was temporarily added for comparison to the YoY and it was found that the difference between the two plots is negligible and that for the purposes of high-level analysis of inflation, the two plots can be considered to be no different from one another. Below is a screenshot for demonstration. Notice how closely the white 12-month SMA of the annualized rate tracks the YoY rate.
For other indexes which may see more dramatic changes month-over-month such as M2 money supply, the difference between the two signals becomes more pronounced but they are still comparable. The conclusion is that the YoY inflation rate can be considered to be a 12-month simple moving average of the annualized MoM rate.

12-month SMA:

It’s easy to see and stands to reason that if the annualized MoM inflation rate (blue) remains where it has been for the previous 2 months YoY inflation (red) will begin falling and eventually reach similar levels due to its moving-average-like behavior. This will bring us back to the 2% YoY inflation target of the Fed within no more than 10 months. There may be a perception that deflation is required to bring prices back down to the purple channel of CPI to make prices pre-Covid "normal" again. We were headed in that direction in July with a slightly negative MoM CPI read. What may have freaked investors out about the August report (most recent as of this writing) is that the inflation rate, rather than continuing into negative deflationary territory, has bounced back into positive territory.

M2 money supply isn’t an integral part of this analysis, but it helps demonstrate the indicator. It can be observed that CPI growth lags M2 money supply growth which seems to have leveled off.

I’m not a macroeconomist so I’m probably missing some things, but I do not see a lagging indicator such as YoY inflation being at 8.25% while annualized MoM inflation is at 1.42% as something to freak out about as investors have seemingly done. I’m a stock market bear as of last week, but I do not feel this CPI analysis strongly supports a bearish thesis, nor is it bullish. Next month’s annualized MoM % change may begin to sway me one way or the other depending on what this chart looks like when it’s updated.

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