Die Corona-Krise öffnet die Tür zur Inflation

Eine der entscheidenden Fragen ist die nach den mittelfristigen Auswirkungen der aktuellen Maßnahmen zur Krisenbekämpfung. Werden diese inflationär wirken oder aber sind die deflationären Kräfte noch zu stark und wir bleiben in dem Umfeld tiefer Inflationsraten, den die Schuldner der Welt so sehr hassen?

In einigen Beiträgen wollen wir das diskutieren. Zum Auftakt die eher traditionelle Argumentation:

  • “The original, herd immunity strategy of Boris Johnson might, it has been suggested, raise deaths in the UK by 250,000 in 2020, but this needs to be set against the normal total of nearly 500,000 per annum, an increase of some 50/60% in one year. Given the age and frailty of those likely to die, this increased death toll in 2020 would have been almost entirely offset by sharply lower death tolls over the subsequent decade.” – bto: Ja, pro gerettetes Lebensjahr haben wir sehr viel ausgegeben.
  • “What this represents is a self-imposed supply shock of immense magnitude. Such a supply shock reduces output and raises prices. Nor is the demand from this period entirely recoverable. Particularly when it comes to services, some of the consumption is permanently lost.” – bto: weshalb es naheliegt, eine langsame Erholung anzunehmen.
  • “In the short run, the inflationary consequences of this massive adverse supply shock be counter-balanced by a collapse in non-food commodity prices, much aggravated by the disastrously timed oil war. It will also be matched by the commensurate decline in demand, some voluntary, some enforced, some permanent, some simply delayed.” – bto: Das ist der deflationäre Schock.
  • “But what will then happen as the lockdown gets lifted and recovery ensues, following a period of massive fiscal and monetary expansion? The answer, as in the aftermath of wars, will be a surge in inflation, quite likely more than 5% and even in the order of 10% in 2021 (assuming that the pandemic gets tamed by the end of this summer – the longer the outbreak takes to tame, the weaker will be the ensuing surge in real activity and then inflation).” – bto: Es herrscht also die klare Erwartung, dass es aufgrund der Interventionen und der Zerstörung auf der Angebotsseite zu Inflation kommt.
  • “However, warnings about inflation were also sounded when quantitative easing (QE) was launched in the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis. Those fears weren’t realised, why should they be any more real now? For three reasons. First, the design of QE meant that most of the injections remained within the banking system in the form of excess reserves. They were never able to filter through to broader aggregates of money which matter for inflation. Today’s policy measures are injecting cash flows that will directly raise the broader measures of money. The second reason is the speed with which the global economy could recover to the level of output just before the outbreak. The stronger the recovery, the more these policy injections will look procyclical. Third, China’s role in the global economy has now changed from being an exporter of deflation to a more neutral one now and increasingly inflationary into the future.” – bto: Der Unterschied ist wirklich, dass das Geld im Finanzsystem stecken blieb.
  • “What will the response of the authorities then be? First, and foremost, they will claim that this is a temporary, and once-for-all blip. Second, the monetary authorities will state that this is a, quite desirable, counterbalance to the years of prior undershooting of targets, entirely consistent with average inflation or price-level targeting. Third, the disruption will have been so great that it will take time to bring unemployment back down towards 2019 levels and large swathes of industry (airlines, cruise ships, hotels, etc.) may still be in difficulties. Does it make any sense, having propped up industry in such a widespread manner in 2020, to let much of that same industry go to the wall in 2021 as a result to rising interest rates and fiscal retrenchment? In any case, the borrowing lobby (government, industry, those with mortgages) is much more politically powerful than the savings lobby.” – bto: Das sehe ich genauso, vor allem weil Ökonomen auch betonen, es gäbe keine Risiken und die Notenbanken würden auf jeden Fall gegensteuern, was sie auch leicht könnten.
  • “The balance of bargaining power is now swinging back to workers, away from employers; current, more socialist, political trends are reinforcing that. The likelihood is that wage demands in 2021 will match, or even perhaps exceed, current inflation, despite the inevitable pleas for moderation in the context of a ‘temporary blip’ in inflation. The coronavirus pandemic, and the supply shock that it has induced, will mark the dividing line between the deflationary forces of the last 30 to 40 years, and the resurgent inflation of the next two decades. Secular stagnation and ‘lower for longer’ will be relegated to the attic of defunct ideas.” – bto: In der Tat dürfte diese Trendwende bevorstehen.
  • “The losers will be savers, pension funds, insurance companies, and those whose main financial assets take the form of cash. It will no longer be fiscally feasible to protect the real value of pensions from the ravages of inflation. The folly of responding to the crisis of excessive debt in 2007-9 by encouraging all borrowers (except banks) to take on more leverage and debt will become apparent.” – bto: Ich denke, das war schon zuvor deutlich geworden.
  • “Inflation will rise considerably above the level of nominal interest rates that our political masters can tolerate. The excessive debt amongst non-financial corporates and governments will get inflated away. The negative real interest rates that may well be necessary to equilibrate the system, as real growth slows in the face of a reversal of globalisation and falling working populations, will happen. Even if central banks feel uncomfortable with such higher inflation, they will be aware that the continuing high levels of debt make our economies still very fragile. And if they try to raise interest rates in such a context, they will face political ire to a point that might threaten their ‘independence’. Only when indebtedness has been restored to viable levels can an assault on inflation be mounted.” – bto: So ist es, allerdings ist die Voraussetzung, dass die Verschuldung wirklich sinkt.

→ voxeu.org: “Future imperfect after coronavirus”, 27. März 2020