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Trading Strategies

US inflation data & how it affects trading

US inflation data: shopping in the city amidst US inflation data affecting purchasing power.

Inflation is one of the most important economic indicators that lots of traders keep a close eye on to gauge the overall health of the economy so as to make informed decisions before trading. For example, if inflation is rising rapidly, traders tend to anticipate higher interest rates, which could impact the profitability of certain investments like bonds or stocks. On the other hand, if inflation remains low, traders tend to seek out assets that typically perform well in a low inflation environment, such as gold.

Inflation rate declined slightly in November 2023 as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was at 3.2%, which is a drop from 3.7% in October 2023. Will the rates get lower in 2024? Many analysts believe so but all eyes are on the FED.

CPI vs inflation data

Consumer Price Index, or CPI, is a commonly used economic indicators that measures the change in prices of goods and services purchased by households. CPI measures the rate of inflation experienced by consumers and is determined by tracking a basket of commonly purchased goods and services. The goods and services that are tracked are weighted based on the percentage of income that consumers spend on them. CPI typically includes categories such as housing, food, transportation, and clothing, among others.

Inflation data, on the other hand, is a broader economic measure that considers the changes in prices across the entire economy. Inflation data is determined by tracking the prices of goods and services throughout different sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, construction, and retail. This data is then used to assess the overall state of the economy and to make predictions about future trends.

While inflation data and CPI are related, it is important for traders to understand that they are not the same thing. CPI is just one measure of inflation, representing the changes in prices that consumers are experiencing. Inflation data, on the other hand, takes a broader view of the economy and considers prices across a range of industries.

For example, if CPI is showing that prices for housing are increasing rapidly, it may be difficult for some consumers to afford homes. However, if inflation data indicates that wages are increasing at the same time, this could be a sign of a healthy economy. Alternatively, if CPI is increasing, but inflation data shows that increases are only occurring in a few specific industries, the overall economy may still be stable.

Why is it important for traders?

CPI (Consumer Price Index) and inflation data are important for traders for several reasons:

  1. Investment decisions: Traders use CPI and inflation data to assess the purchasing power of consumers. If inflation is high, it may erode the value of money and impact consumer spending, leading traders to adjust their investment strategies accordingly. For example, if inflation is rising, traders may choose to invest in inflation-hedging assets like gold or real estate.
  2. Interest rates: Inflation data plays a significant role in shaping central banks' decisions on interest rates. When inflation is high, central banks may raise interest rates to curb inflationary pressures. This can affect borrowing costs, credit availability, and investment decisions for traders. For instance, higher interest rates can lead to decreased consumer spending and lower corporate gains, influencing stock market trends.
  3. Currency markets: Inflation data influences currency values. If a country has higher inflation compared to its trading partners, its currency may depreciate. Traders in the Forex market analyse inflation data to identify potential currency trends and benefit from exchange rate fluctuations. For example, a trader might sell a currency that is experiencing high inflation expectations against a currency with lower inflation expectations.
  4. Commodity markets: Inflation affects the prices of commodities such as oil, gold, and agricultural products. Traders who specialise in commodity trading closely monitor inflation data to anticipate price movements and make trades. For instance, if inflation is expected to rise, traders might consider buying commodities as a hedge against inflation.
  5. Stock market performance: Inflation data can also impact stock market performance. When inflation rises, it could lead to higher input costs, reduced profit margins, and increased borrowing costs for companies. Traders analyse this data to evaluate how it may affect specific sectors or companies, helping them make informed decisions about buying or selling stocks.
  6. Bond markets: Inflation data is crucial for bond traders as it affects the purchasing power of fixed-income investments. When inflation rises, the value of future interest payments decreases in real terms, making existing bonds less attractive. Traders use this data to assess bond market expectations and adjust their bond portfolios accordingly.
  7. Risk management: CPI and inflation data are key inputs for risk management strategies. Traders consider inflation when assessing the potential risks associated with their investments. For example, if inflation is expected to rise rapidly, traders might adjust their portfolios by diversifying into assets that historically perform well during inflationary periods, such as commodities or Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS).

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Past performance does not guarantee or predict future performance. This article is offered for general information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice.

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You are about to visit: https://skilling.com/row/ which is operated by Skilling (Seychelles) Ltd, under the Financial Services Authority Seychelles License No: SD042. Before opening an account, please read the terms & conditions and contact our customer support for any questions.

Thank you for considering Skilling!

You are about to visit: https://skilling.com/row/ which is operated by Skilling (Seychelles) Ltd, under the Financial Services Authority Seychelles License No: SD042. Before opening an account, please read the terms & conditions and contact our customer support for any questions.

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