Speed Reads

Under Pressure

Inflation is high in most advanced economies. Economists say that's probably a good sign.

"Price gains are shooting higher across many advanced economies as consumer demand, shortages, and other pandemic-related factors combine to fuel a burst of inflation," The New York Times reports. But the fact that "many economies are experiencing a price pop in tandem, even though they used vastly different policies to cushion the blow of pandemic lockdowns," is a hopeful sign that today's above-target inflation numbers won't last.

The U.S., Britain, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, and Australia don't just have higher-than-wanted inflation, they also share labor shortages and other "oddities of the current economic moment," the Times explains. "Commerce came to a sudden stop and then abruptly restarted when government relief payments padded consumers' wallets, making people eager to spend even as manufacturers struggled to get back to full production and restaurants scrambled to staff back up."

While the police responses differ, G-20 countries collectively pumped about $8.7 trillion worth of government spending into their economies since January 2020. "There is a lot of stimulus in the system, and it is pushing up demand and that's driving higher inflation," Kristin Forbes, an MIT economist, tells the Times. "Some of these big global moves do tend to pass through and prove temporary," but "the big question is: How long will these supply chain pressures last?"

Read more about how this "shared inflation experience" is probably a good omen for each individual country's inflation picture, and why the jolt of inflation may even be a good corrective to years of undesirably low inflation, at The New York Times.