A plunge in global commodity prices is tilting the balance in favor of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and colleagues who may seek further action to boost growth as the U.S. labor market falters and risks from Europe rise.
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Total Return Index of 24 commodities has fallen 16 percent since May 1. Oil is down 21 percent, and corn has slumped 18 percent. Inflation, as measured by the personal consumption expenditures index, slowed to an annual 1.8 percent rate in April, below the Fed’s 2 percent goal. The consumer price index, another measure of the cost of living, fell by the most in more than three years in May, a report yesterday showed.