The first global deflation has begun

How painful it will be is unclear, but we are courting the risk of a global recession that at its worst could bring down housing markets and bankrupt businesses and states

For the first time in the post-Cold War era of globalisation, the world is facing significant and widespread inflation. PHOTO: AFP
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Around the world, rapid economic recovery from the Covid-19 shock unleashed the largest wave of inflation we have seen since the early 1980s. In response, in the summer of 2021, central banks began raising interest rates. Brazil led the way. In early 2022, the US Federal Reserve joined in, unleashing a bandwagon effect: Once the Fed moves and the dollar strengthens, other countries either raise their interest rates or face a sharp devaluation, which further stokes inflation. The outline of this pattern is familiar. But the breadth is new.

We now find ourselves in the midst of the most comprehensive tightening of monetary policy the world has seen. While the interest rate increases are not as steep as those pushed through by Mr Paul Volcker as Fed chairman after 1979, today's involve far more central banks.

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