US government debt revealed, inflation hotspots and more: Wednesday's 5 things to know

On tap for Wednesday is the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on wholesale inflation for August

Here are five key things that could impact Wednesday's trading.

$31T IN THE HOLE: The U.S. government's debt continues its uphill climb and will soon reach $31 trillion for the first time as early as this month.

While several countries worldwide accelerated their spending in response to COVID-19, spending by Congress was already increasing at a speedy clip long before the pandemic sparked a borrowing surge that exacerbated the rate.

America has the largest national debt in the world at $30.9 trillion. With a population of over 333 million, that means a debt burden of $92,709 per citizen and $245,191 for each taxpayer and equates to a public debt to gross domestic product ratio of 97.53%, according to 


The Fed in a photo illustration with money

The Federal Reserve building with money in the background. (Getty Images / istock / Getty Images)

The site also tracks the debt of other nations, so FOX Business decided to lay out some comparisons to show how they stack up.

Japan has the highest public debt to GDP ratio of 288.31% and is second in line to the U.S. in borrowing total with a national debt of $15.231 trillion.

Inflation rose more than expected in August as the rising cost of food and rent offset a major decline in gasoline prices.

INFLATION HITS AMERICANS HARDEST HERE: The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 8.3% in August from a year ago. Prices climbed 0.1% in the one-month period from July.

Those figures were both higher than the 8.1% headline figure and 0.1% monthly decline forecast by Refinitiv economists, a worrisome sign for the Federal Reserve as it seeks to cool price gains and tame consumer demand with an aggressive interest rate hike campaign. Stocks sank on the surprisingly hot report, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average shedding more than 1,000 points on Tuesday afternoon.

So-called core prices, which strip out the more volatile measurements of food and energy, climbed 6.3% from the previous year, above the 6.1% forecast from economists. Core prices also rose more than expected on a monthly basis, jumping 0.6% in August – a bigger increase than in April, May, June and July, and a troubling sign that underlying inflationary pressures in the economy remain strong.


U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported the consumer price index, which measures the price for everyday goods including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 8.3% in August from a year ago. (Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"The August CPI report indicates that inflation is still roaring hot," said Jason Reed, an assistant chair and professor of finance at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. "Economists were hoping for a cool down during August and they saw that with significant declines in the price of gasoline and energy, but food and healthcare prices remained high."

ECONOMIC REPORT RELEASE: Investors are bracing for another key inflation report Wednesday morning, after Tuesday’s hotter-than-expected August CPI report roiled the markets.

 At 8:30 a.m. ET, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will report wholesale inflation for August. 

The producer price index is expected to slip 0.1% month-over-month according to Refinitiv forecasts, after falling half a percent in July. 

Year-over-year, prices paid by wholesalers are anticipated to jump 8.8%. That would be down a full percentage-point from July’s 9.8% spike, and the fourth month in the last five of declining annual growth from a record 11.7% surge in March (the final demand index goes back to November 2010). 


The U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Information Association will release figures for August 2022 on Wednesday, September 14, 2022. The figures are expected to show stockpiles are expected to increase by 883,000 barrels. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/REUTERS / Reuters Photos)

Excluding food and energy costs, core producer prices are anticipated to rise 0.3% monthly in August, up slightly from July’s 0.2% increase. 

Year-over-year look for core PPI to rise 7.1% in August, the fifth straight month of slowing growth after a record 9.7% surge in March (data go back to April 2011).

Also on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. ET, the Department of Energy’s Information Administration will release its inventory report for last week. 

Crude stockpiles are expected to increase by 833,000 barrels, following a massive, surprise build of almost 9 million barrels the previous week. 

Watch for a build of 600,000 barrels in distillate supplies (heating oil, diesel fuel), and a draw of almost 900,000 barrels in gasoline inventories.

MARKETS TUMBLE: Stocks suffered their worst day in more than two years after hotter-than-expected inflation data dashed investors' hopes that cooling price pressures would prompt the Federal Reserve to moderate its campaign of interest-rate increases. Investors sold everything from stocks and bonds to oil and gold. 

All 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined, as did all 11 sectors in the S&P 500. Only five stocks in the broad benchmark finished the session in the green. 

Facebook parent Meta Platforms dropped 9.4%, BlackRock declined 7.5% and Boeing fell 7.2%. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
META META PLATFORMS INC. 298.96 -1.87 -0.62%
BLK BLACKROCK INC. 646.74 -10.80 -1.64%
BA THE BOEING CO. 195.64 -3.15 -1.58%

The Dow fell 1276.37 points, or 3.9%, to 31104.97. The S&P 500 declined 177.72 points, or 4.3%, to 3932.69. The Nasdaq Composite slid 632.84 points, or 5.2%, to 11633.57. All three indexes posted their steepest one-day losses since June 11, 2020. 

The declines left the Dow industrials down 14% in 2022, while the S&P 500 has lost 17% and the Nasdaq Composite has retreated 26%. 

Investors had eagerly anticipated Tuesday's release of the consumer-price index, which provided a last major look at inflation before the central bank's interest-rate-setting committee meets next week. Expectations for the path of monetary policy have held sway over the markets as investors factor higher rates into asset prices and try to project how well the economy will hold up as rates rise. 

"It increases the probability of recession if the Fed has to move more significantly to address inflation," said Chris Shipley, chief investment strategist for North America at Northern Trust Asset Management. 

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had been expecting consumer prices to rise 8% annually in August. Analysts had hoped that officials would consider easing their pace of interest-rate increases if data continued to show inflation subsiding. 

The data undercut those hopes, seeming to settle the case for the Fed to raise rates by at least 0.75 percentage point next week.

YEAR-TO-DATE MARKET DATA: The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which exited its correction four weeks ago, ended today almost 15.5% below its record closing high on Jan. 4. 

The S&P 500, which fell into a bear market on June 13 for the first time since early 2020, is down 18% from its record close on Jan. 3. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 33618.88 -388.00 -1.14%
SP500 S&P 500 4273.53 -63.91 -1.47%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13063.609627 -207.71 -1.57%

The Nasdaq Composite, which entered a bull market four weeks ago and has since fallen into correction territory, ended 27.6% below its record finish on Nov. 19. 


The small-cap Russell 2000, which also exited its bear market four weeks ago, is 25% below its high on Nov. 8.