Five. Count em—five. Five different Federal Reserve officials in recent days pointed to rising inflation expectations as a potential economic drag well before actual inflation takes hold. The frequency of its mention leaves inflation the buzzword that could cause a Fed-induced market selloff when Janet Yellen takes the microphone in New York on Tuesday.
In only one day, the market-implied probability of an April interest-rate hike doubled, after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said last Wednesday that inflation would overshoot the Fed’s 2% target. Other officials echoed his sentiment, sparking some Wall Street jitters that an aggressive Fed could move too fast for the comfort of growth-focused American corporations or that a Fed in catch-up mode had actually waited too long to take back aggressive accommodation.