Americans raised spending in May by just 0.2% — the smallest increase in 2022 — as high inflation made them more cautious about what they buy and how much. Rising prices due to high inflation is altering consumers’ spending habits. A key measure of inflation included in the report rose sharply again in May. Incomes rose a somewhat stronger 0.5% last month, but inflation is still rising faster than wages and leaving most Americans worse off financially. The rate of inflation as measured by the so-called PCE index rose 6.3% in the 12 months ended in May. The better-known consumer price index has climbed 8.6% same span to mark the highest level since 1981. As a result, inflation-adjusted disposable income has shrunk 3.3% in the past year.
The OPEC oil cartel and allied producing nations decided today to boost production of crude by an amount that will likely do little to relieve high gas prices at the pump and energy-fueled inflation plaguing the global economy. The increase of 648,000 barrels per day in August still leaves the world thirsty for oil as it rebounds from the pandemic and runs up against the inability of the 23-member OPEC+ alliance to meet its production quotas.
Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates eased back this week after shooting up nearly three-quarters of a point in recent weeks. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported today that the 30-year rate fell to 5.70% this week from 5.81% last week. One year ago, however, the average 30-year rate was 2.98%.