Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke remains unconcerned about inflation -- perhaps rightly so -- at a testimony in front of US lawmakers on Tuesday.
Consumer inflation remains lower compared to pre-crisis levels. In January 2011, prices only increased 1.2 percent from last year. Going forward, Bernanke thinks inflation will remain 1.25 to 1.75 percent in 2011 and 1 to 2 percent in 2012 to 2013.
He also cited a survey that said forecasters in the private sector expect similar inflation figures.
Moreover, the financial market, judging by the price of inflation-protected assets, has expressed limited concerns about inflation in the coming few years. Lastly, a survey of households also suggests that longer-term inflation expectations...remain stable.
Bernanke acknowledged that in the United States and globally, food and energy inflation has accelerated. However, he said it was due to genuine supply and demand factors. Furthermore, he said food and energy inflation wasn't unique to the US dollar and the United States.
Judging by these comments, Bernanke seems to suggest that food and energy inflation shouldn't be blamed on the loose U.S. monetary policy, or specifically his controversial second round of quantitative easing.
He also said that despite the inflation in these commodities, the pass-through to the broad gauges of US consumer remains quite low. In other words, the rise in the costs of these commodities doesn't affect the average US consumer that much.
It will lead to at most, a temporary and relatively modest increase in U.S. consumer price inflation -- an outlook consistent with the projections, said Bernanke.