Inflation is ‘past peak’ as parts costs trend down, Musk says

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc. and the world’s richest person, said he sees signs that the global economy has gone “past peak inflation.”

Speaking at the electric-vehicle maker’s annual shareholder meeting, Musk said the company’s commodity and component costs are trending downward over the next six months. He also reiterated prior comments that he expects a mild recession to hit that could last 18 months.

“The trend is down, which suggests we are past peak inflation,” Musk said at Tesla’s Austin headquarters and factory. “I think inflation is going to drop rapidly” at some point in the future, he said.

Global central banks have embarked on a path of policy-tightening as inflation pressures consumers and corporate bottom lines. In the US, consumer prices increased by 9.1 percent in June from a year earlier, and Federal Reserve officials say the price gains have yet to slow. The next print on inflation comes August 10.

“We sort of have some insight in to where prices are headed over time,” Musk said, citing the company’s need to buy raw materials often months in advance of when they will be used.

“The interesting thing that we are seeing now is that most of our commodities, most of the things that go in to a Tesla— not all, but more than half—the prices are trending down in six months,” he added.

While Tesla has a global purview on input costs and consumer health, Musk warned on stage that making “macroeconomic prognostications is a recipe for disaster” and said his comments were a “guess” and “total speculation.” The CEO also warned that the trend could change.

Reservation holders and future customers of the upcoming futuristic Cybertruck may fall victim to the impacts of inflation, Musk suggested. The “Blade Runner”-inspired pickup was unveiled in 2019 and “a lot has changed” since then, he said. At the time the company started taking reservations, the most basic model was being discussed as a $39,900 vehicle.

“The specs and the pricing will be different,” Musk said. “I hate to give a little bit of bad news. But there is no way to have anticipated the inflation we have seen and various issues.” Bloomberg News