A DOW JONES NEWSWIRES COLUMN
NEW YORK — As indicated by the May consumer price index, inflation remains the no-show of this recovery.
The top-line CPI has fallen for two months in a row, dragged down by falling energy prices. Even excluding food and energy, the core CPI has risen just 0.9% over the past year.
Underneath the quiet surface, however, are signs of “stealth inflation.” Companies and industries are trying to slip in price increases without appearing to be hiking prices.
It’s a way to pump up revenues at a time when demand growth remains modest. The incidents should become more numerous when the recovery becomes more durable and businesses test the waters when it comes to raising prices.