Barbie, Taylor Swift and the Fed

At a press conference yesterday, July 26, a New York Times journalist asked Powell if the rush to buy tickets for the Taylor Swift tour and the Barbie movie was a sign of good consumer health and the American economy.

The question is not as eccentric as one might think. The demand for Barbies is so great that many are wondering why the ticket only costs $15. Commentators noted that the producers are counting on the fact that fans will see more and more of Barbie. Others noted that $15 needed to be added to $10 for a small basket of popcorn. The fact is that a movie ticket, which in 1969 cost an average of $1.42, and in 2007 reached $7.50, today in New York easily reaches $28 without popcorn.

Concerning Taylor Swift, the price of tickets to his concerts has been the subject of investigations by some prosecutors, numerous questions in Congress, and an antitrust investigation. All this did not prevent the fact that in November last year, as soon as the sale began, they immediately appeared 15 million requests. Tickets average $150–$200 but can go as high as $1,450 if you want to get a good seat and claim a poster and a trinket. However, the tour will continue until the end of 2024.

Jokes, they say. The fact remains that after a 550 basis point rate hike, there is little sign of a slowdown, stock markets continue to rise and commodities are recovering. for several months now every time central banks adjust rates, markets celebrate the end of the hike cycle. Then there is another rise, and the markets again celebrate the end of the cycle, and so on.

As former Fed Steven Kamin writes: with a good economy and still high inflation (in Powell’s opinion, it will return to 2 percent only in 2025), raising rates is not a question, it is a matter of course. According to him, the damage from accelerating inflation will be incalculable, while a moderate recession will be quite acceptable.

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