Since 2013, the NY Federal Reserve has been conducting a consumer survey focused on expectations for rental housing costs in the year ahead. The survey participants expect housing rental costs to soar a record 9.7% in the next 12 months, which is a major increase from the average of about 5.6% since the survey began nearly eight years ago. Survey data and other “soft” indicators, while useful, tend to lag hard data. Granted, there are also widespread reports of labor shortages and lack of transportation, but that is most likely a temporary condition. Taking this and other signals into account, we would be more concerned about inflation becoming a more permanent problem if the bond market was behaving as if the economy was moving towards that. But, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond yield, now standing at 1.47%, has descended from its peak of 1.74% on March 31st. Also, some key commodity prices are declining — the lumber crack spread (cited by WCM on June 14th) has fallen over 30% in two weeks. For now, we view these pockets of inflation as more of an adjustment from pandemic-created economic readings rather than a permanent progression towards higher consumer price levels. [chart courtesy NY Fed and Bloomberg LP © 2021]