Is stagflation-lite the start of something more serious?

With supply shortages set to persist for the next 6 to 12 months, the current period of “stagflation-lite” will persist a while longer. But it is likely to remain a pale imitation of the 1970s stagflation episode. Meanwhile, we do not share the pessimism of those who think that the current supply shortages are just one of a series of stagflationary shocks likely to hit the economy in the coming years.
Vicky Redwood Senior Economic Adviser
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Global Economics Chart Book

Shortages limiting growth and boosting inflation

With shortages of goods and labour still dominating the news, and following our Focus research into global shortages, we have added a new page to the Global Economics Chart Book to monitor their evolution. While the global economy has continued to grow at a fairly healthy pace, businesses are reporting that shortages are limiting growth, particularly in advanced economies. Suppliers’ delivery times have continued to lengthen, backlogs of work are mounting and congestion at ports has increased. Most of the shortages should begin to ease in the year ahead, but shortages of labour could be relatively persistent. Staffing issues seem most pronounced in the US and UK, implying that the risk of sustained above-target inflation is also greatest in those economies.

14 October 2021

Global Inflation Watch

Shortages skew inflation risks to the upside

Inflation is set to stay higher for longer than we previously envisaged due to surging energy prices and goods shortages. The boost from energy will go into reverse next year due to base effects and lower oil and gas prices. Goods shortages are worsening and will persist for some time given lean inventories, pandemic-related shutdowns in Asia, and strong demand for imported goods. These pressures should start to ease next year. But there is a risk that the shortages trigger a more persistent pick-up in price pressures, particularly when labour is also in short supply. Staff shortages are most pronounced in the US and intensifying rapidly in the UK and Canada. In all, while we expect inflation to ease back to below target in the next couple of years in Japan and Europe, it will settle at higher rates in the US.

11 October 2021

Global Economics Update

Economies after COVID: one year on

It is a year since we published our “Economies after COVID” series, so now seems like a good time to pause and take stock of how our predictions about the legacy of the pandemic are shaping up. There is a still a long way to go until the pandemic’s full effects can be judged, not least because the pandemic is not even over yet; only a few countries are at the point of transitioning to treating COVID-19 as an endemic disease. But, so far, it is looking like we were right to judge that the legacy of the pandemic would be found in broader issues like consumer behaviour and globalisation, rather than narrow measures of GDP.

8 October 2021

More from Vicky Redwood

Global Economics Update

Economies after COVID: one year on

It is a year since we published our “Economies after COVID” series, so now seems like a good time to pause and take stock of how our predictions about the legacy of the pandemic are shaping up. There is a still a long way to go until the pandemic’s full effects can be judged, not least because the pandemic is…

7 October 2021

Global Economics Update

Is the rise in house prices becoming a concern?

It is an under-statement to say that house prices have weathered the pandemic well; housing markets are positively booming. Yet the drivers of this rise in prices are rather different to those of the pre-2007 housing boom, meaning that we do not seem to be heading for a repeat of the housing-driven financial crisis of 2007/08. Nonetheless, there are pockets of concern, and we would get more worried if it looked like interest rates were about to rise sharply.

28 September 2021

CE Spotlight

Will a post-pandemic surge in demand fuel inflation?

Demand was always likely to rebound strongly as economies re-opened and confidence returned. Beyond this, though, there are reasons to think that we could now be in for a period of sustained strong aggregate demand in developed economies. Initially, this will be soaked up by spare capacity. But demand might stay strong even once economies return to full employment, potentially fueling inflation. This risk looks highest in countries which have seen the biggest policy stimulus and the smallest amount of pandemic-related economic damage, with the US most obviously fitting the bill.

16 September 2021
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