Nations around the world are witnessing the impact of inflation at an unprecedented scale. The US is currently facing its highest inflation in 45 years, with the Fed Reserve hiking interest rates for the 3rd time n September 2022. The interest rate hike, unfortunately, contributes to rising unemployment. Other factors, such as the Russia-Ukraine War and disruptions in energy supply chains are presenting significant crises across the European region. The post-pandemic recovery will take some time due to the sudden onset of this global inflation.
Effects of Inflation on 7 Global Economic Parameters
1) 2X Actual Inflation Rates Compared to Projections
Inflation rates have far exceeded economic predictions in several countries, in fact, more than double in some European nations. Lithuania recorded an annual inflation rate of 22.5% in August 2022, the highest since 1996. December 2021 projections had suggested inflation between 3-4%. Other European countries also reported high figures such as Poland(12.34%), Germany(7.9%), Sweden(9.8%), Netherlands(17.1%). UK’s inflation soared over 10% for the 1st time in 40 years, led by rising prices for food and fuel. Estonia suffered the worst, registering inflation of 24.2% in September 2022. Despite having an uptrend, Asian countries such as Japan(2.8%), South Korea(5.6%), China(2.50%), and India(7.01%). Inflation in the US rose 9.1% in June and later fell to 8.3%.
2) Rising Central Bank Interest Rates Worldwide
Central banks around the world hiked their interest rates in order to keep up with the rising inflation. The Australian Reserve Bank increased interest rates for the 5th time since May 2022 by 50 basis points. Other nations participating in this upward trend include the Bank of England and the European Central Bank. The US Federal Reserve increased interest rates for the 3rd time in 2022, hiking rates 3/4th of a percentage point, with newer projections suggesting a 4.40% rise by the end of this year. The Reserve Bank of India increased rates in a similar fashion, hiking interest rates for the 4th time since May 2022 by 50 basis points.
3) Real Estate Price Hike
The real estate sector in addition to food and energy fuels increased sharply. The surge had started appearing well before the onset of 2022’s inflation. The global pandemic had severely disrupted the existing real estate and housing sector. Expenditure on houses rose significantly on almost a global scale. The biggest real estate gainers among European nations include Turkey, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania. Both New Zealand and Australia were major gainers in the Asia-Pacific region. While the US and Canada apparently benefited from the rising house prices in the North Americas, Mexico failed to capitalize on the situation. Gains across nations in the South American continent are relatively smaller.
4) Skyrocketing Commodity Valuations
The Russia-Ukraine war disrupted supply chains, leading to a sharp increase in the valuation of commodities all over the world. In fact, market analysts recommend now is the best time to invest in commodities. The statement holds true for almost all commodities with the economic stimulus of reinvigorating the damages caused to the global economy by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fertilizers witnessed the biggest price- fuelled by a shortage of natural gas and rising demands from farmers all around the world.
5) Growing Worldwide Food Crisis
The fertilizer price hike along with the Russian invasion has cat food items to unforeseen levels. The rise since 2021 has been the highest from the time the UN’s Food and Agriculture Office started its indexing. The current prices are much higher than the past global hike in 2008 and 2011, which were triggered by the global financial crisis. Supply chain disruptions are the main factor, along with war, and natural calamities such as droughts and floods across certain areas.
6) Reduction in Wage Compensation
One of the most important aftereffects of inflation is the erosion of people’s purchasing power, negating the impact rising wages have on living expenses. OECD members had reported a flatline for economic wages for several years till the onset of the pandemic. The tightening of labor markets gave an edge to the workers in terms of negotiation. Real wages soared with lockdown impositions and continued to rise. However, severe inflation has halted the growth. UK workers today report an 8% drop in real wage pay, year-on-year.
7) Grim Economic Outlook
Rate hikes and regulatory steps are not having the desired slowdown, as economists forecast that inflation will persist for some time. Central banks are likely to continue raising interest rates for decreasing demand. This is resulting in revisions in economic growth projections of nations around the world. The OECD’s Economic Outlook decreased Turkey’s actual GDP growth projections by 8 percentage points. The same is the case for Argentina and the UK(7.4% decrease). Meanwhile, the rising demand for oil increased the real GDP growth projections of Saudi Arabia by 6 percentage points.
All signs indicate that the ongoing inflation is here to stay for some time. The Russo-Ukrainian geopolitical turmoil certainly does not make things easier. Sanctions and limited energy supplies have rocked the Europeans, who have been the most affected by the ongoing inflation. Leading central banks around the world will likely continue hiking interest rates. Bitcoin, originally built as a hedge against inflation, still needs to address its volatile pricing issues, to make a significant impact on the global economy.