Billionaire bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach said Friday that inflation in consumer prices likely will remain elevated through 2021 and stay above 4% through at least 2022.
Citing pressures from shelter costs and rising wages, the head of DoubleLine Capital told CNBC that he sees the current inflation run as non-transitory and instead likely to persist well into the future.
“We believe that it’s almost certain that 2021 will end with a 5-handle on the [consumer price index], and it’s going higher in the next couple of readings, thanks primarily to the price of energy,” Gundlach said on CNBC’s “Halftime Report.” “And we don’t think inflation is going below 4% anytime in 2022.”
His comments come with the CPI, which measures a broad basket of consumer goods prices, increasing at a 5.4% annual pace when including food and energy costs, the fastest in 30 years. The Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge, which measures personal consumption expenditures excluding food and energy, is at a 3.6% year over year pace, well ahead of the central bank’s 2% target.
Fed officials insist that the current price increases are transitory and driven by supply-chain shocks, extraordinary demand for goods over services, and a labor shortage, all related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While Gundlach conceded that some of the increases, such as lumber and some other commodities, are temporary, others are not.
One factor he cited is shelter costs, which make up about one-third of the CPI and have been rising steadily this year, though not a pace equal to the headline surge.
“It’s almost certain that we’re going to get persistently high inflation thanks to the shelter component going up, and perhaps the wages, too,” he said.
The result, he said, has been negative real interest rates as government bond yields remain low while inflation runs high. He called the negative rates “wickedly unattractive” from an investing standpoint.