Die nachhaltige Inflation wird wahr­scheinlicher

Unstrittig wird die Politik in den kommenden Jahren auf höhere Staatsausgaben und eine weiterhin großzügige Liquiditätsflutung setzen. Das muss inflationär wirken, vor allem wenn man bedenkt, dass auch ohne Krieg der Zug in Richtung Inflation wohl schon abgefahren war. Darauf wies Martin Wolf, Kommentator bei der FINANCIAL TIMES (FT), schon vor einigen Wochen hin:

  • “Losing control over inflation is politically and economically damaging: restoring control usually requires a deep recession. Yet the Fed has been running this risk lately, because it has not even started to remove a highly alcoholic punch bowl. Whether inflation is indeed transitory is not mainly determined by what is going on in markets for specific products. It depends more on the environment in which such shocks emerge. The risk is that in a highly supportive policy environment, such as today’s, a price shock can too easily ripple across the economy as workers and other producers struggle to recoup their losses.” – bto: Genauso einen Schock erleben wir gerade, einen Schock, der dem Hantieren mit Feuer im Munitionsdepot gleicht.
  • “The Institute for International Finance notes that US real consumption has by now fully returned to its pre-pandemic trend. This never happened after the 2008 financial crisis. Business and residential investment is also extremely robust. The recovery is stronger than in the other big high-income countries. The main reason for this rude health, argues the IIF, has been fiscal stimulus. The labour market has also substantially healed and, on some measures, is hot. In a recent piece for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Jason Furman and Wilson Powell show that the prime-age non-employment rate, unemployment rate, number of unemployed people per vacancy and quit rate are all stronger than the 2001-2018 average. The last two are at record levels. (…)  In other words, the Fed has already fulfilled its jobs mandate.” – bto: und damit auch Lohndruck.
  • “The rate of price increases on the scarcest items will slow and many prices will even fall. But that will not be enough. One reason is that affected businesses and workers will seek to recoup their losses, risking an inflationary spiral. Another is that policy is still aggressively loose, given the ongoing asset purchases and a Fed funds rate of 0.25 per cent. Whatever the supply disruptions, a central bank still has to calibrate policy to demand. Yet the Fed continues to ladle out the punch, even though the party is turning into an orgy.” – bto: Und jetzt geht es weiter, angesichts des Krieges in der Ukraine.
  • “Given, in addition, the ‘long and variable lags’ in the relationship between monetary policy, the economy and inflation, described by Milton Friedman, it is hard to believe the Fed is anywhere near where it needs to be today. The Fed itself agrees: tightening is on the way. But the question is whether it can still contain an inflationary spiral and keep expectations stable without having to inflict a recession. That is going to be extremely hard to pull off.” – bto: Jetzt bekommen wir die Ukraine dazu.
  • It is conceivable that the policy settings chosen during the worst of the Covid crisis still make sense today. It is conceivable too that the forecast tightening will deliver robust growth and smooth disinflation. Both are less unlikely than that the moon is made of green cheese. But likely? Not so much.” – bto: Das war vor dem Krieg und den Sanktionen. Jetzt sind wir in einer Welt, in der die Inflation steigen muss.

Genau das ist auch die These der FT in einem aktuellen Beitrag:

  • “Russia’s war and the economic response combine to impart a sizeable stagflationary shock on advanced economies, which were previously recovering strongly from the pandemic.” – bto: steigende Preise in einem Umfeld der Rezession.
  • “The shock is inflationary because already elevated oil, gas and food prices have jumped, pushing commodity prices to their highest since 2008. It is directly contractionary for industries having to restrict business that is under sanctions. It also indirectly slows growth by squeezing incomes as prices rise, adding reasons for households and companies to be cautious with spending.” – bto: Die Realeinkommen sinken. So einfach ist das. 
  • “A stagflationary shock is a nasty dilemma for policymakers. Too little response to inflation will embed rapidly rising prices into corporate expectations of what consumers will tolerate and the pay increases they need to offer. No one benefits from any sort of wage price spiral. But being too concerned about inflation will weaken growth, could cause recessions (…).” – bto: Betrachten wir die Politik der letzten Jahre, wissen wir, dass es zugunsten der Inflation ausschlagen wird. 
  • “Just before Russia invaded, the IMF proposed a minor revolution in economics to deal with the UK’s economic circumstances. Raise taxes now rather than later, the fund recommended. It said the action would cool inflation faster than higher interest rates, which have their maximum effect about a year after implementation, and poorer households could be protected by exempting them from tighter fiscal policy. Using fiscal policy as the active tool for damping demand is not something many have suggested since crude Keynesianism went out of fashion. A lively debate about the tools of macroeconomic management has been cut short by Russia’s actions. Now is not a time for economic experiments and tax increases that would intensify the horrible squeeze on incomes faced by UK households. For now, the job of managing the cycle and the trade-off between the inflationary and contractionary effects of this crisis in the UK and elsewhere should fall to central banks. The populations of advanced economies should cut the central bankers some slack as they go about this miserable task. They will do their best to balance inflation and growth, but stagflationary shocks are circumstances where mistakes are highly likely.”

FT (Anmeldung erforderlich): „The Fed is too late to remove the punchbowl”, 1. Februar 2022