THE BASIS POINT

Inflation Peaked When Rapper Ice-T’s Gas Station Robbery Went Viral

 
 

Remember Ice T’s viral tweet a year ago about how he got robbed at the gas station? And how it was actually high prices at pump number 9 that robbed him? It’s not timeless like Colors or New Jack Hustler, but Ice-T’s gas station inflation rap was timed perfectly last year to capture everyone’s anger over high prices. The good news is it turns out that’s the highest inflation got.

With today’s Fed-preferred Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) figures, we have 12 months of inflation data since Ice-T’s tweet on March 24, 2022.

Annual February PCE inflation is 5.0% Overall and 4.6% Core, which excludes volatile food and energy costs.

Overall annual PCE is down from 5.3% in January, and Core is down from 4.7% in January.

Core PCE is what the Fed follows very closely to make rate policy.

On a monthly basis, Core PCE was down 20 basis points to 0.3%, which is 3.6% annualized.

This starts to get us closer to the Fed’s 2% target.

I’ve highlighted these Core PCE inflation adjustments in the table below.

Core PCE consumer inflation down 20 basis points to 0.3% January to February 2023 and down 10 basis points to 4.6% YoY - The Basis Point

And here’s what the 12-month inflation trend looks like for both Core PCE and Core CPI.

For CPI, note asterisk (and footnote) by June 2022 because that’s when Overall (non-Core) CPI peaked.

CORE PCE INFLATION (ANNUAL) LAST 12MO

Mar 2022: 5.2% (peak)
Apr 2022: 4.9%
May 2022: 4.7%
Jun 2022: 4.8%
Jul 2022: 4.6%
Aug 2022: 4.9%
Sep 2022: 5.2% (same peak)
Oct 2022: 5.1%
Nov 2022: 4.8%
Dec 2022: 4.6%
Jan 2023: 4.7%
Feb 2023: 4.6%

CORE CPI INFLATION (ANNUAL) LAST 12MO

Mar 2022: 6.5% (almost peak)
Apr 2022: 6.1%
May 2022: 6.0%
Jun 2022: 5.9%*
Jul 2022: 5.9%
Aug 2022: 6.3%
Sep 2022: 6.6% (peak)
Oct 2022: 6.3%
Nov 2022: 6.0%
Dec 2022: 5.7%
Jan 2023: 5.5%
Feb 2023: 5.5%

ICE-T GAS STATION INFLATION INDICATOR

Ice T gas station robbery March 24, 2022 inflation  tweet - this is when inflation peaked - The Basis Point

Ice-T has remained in mainstream pop culture for 4+ decades because he knows how people feel on the ground.

That’s why his inflation tweet was such a big deal.

But it turns out that was the highest inflation got in America.

Hindsight is easier yes. But it might be time to chill out.

Or at least shift from being pissed about higher rates to being pissed about looming recession.

Sometimes art is the only way to break through on these boring topics.

Ice-T did it last year, and our creative director Dennis ‘Grewvy’ Pettigrew tributes it this year.

Please reach out with comments and questions.

And please subscribe to our newsletter!

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Reference:

Table above from BEA’s February 2023 PCE inflation report

February Core CPI inflation was 5.5%, same as January (TBP)

– * NOTE: June 2022 is when headline CPI inflation peaked at 8.9%

– 🎵 Ice T – Colors

– 🎵 Ice T – New Jack Hustler

Here’s the embed of Ice-T gas station robbery tweet

 

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