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Price Escalation Tests Short-War Dogma; Data Exceed Expectations

Price Escalation Tests Short-War Dogma; Data Exceed Expectations

Posted November 22, 2021
Mark Pender
Econoday Inc.

Global Economics – November 19, 2021

Introduction

Sky high divergence scores of 57 for China and 47 for the US put into context a week of unexpectedly strong economic data, some of which is wanted but some of which (when it comes to inflation) isn’t wanted at all. No one was prepared for the prior week’s acceleration in US consumer prices, at 0.9 percent on the month and 6.2 percent on the year, including no doubt Jerome Powell who has been assuring everyone all year that supply constraints will ease and that the secular trend of disinflation will reassert itself. Could it be that the inability to restrain consumer prices will cost Jerome Powell his job? That’s up to President Biden who is expected to announce his Fed chair pick any day now. All this heat, whether on Powell or consumer prices, starts at the producer level where costs are literally in vertical flight across the globe, and especially in Germany.

The Global Economy

Producer prices continue to soar and again far exceeded even the grimmest expectations in October. Having already jumped a monthly 2.3 percent in September, Germany’s PPI surged fully 3.8 percent at the start of the quarter. Annual PPI inflation climbed 4.2 percentage points to 18.4 percent, the highest reading in records that began in 1951. In line with the pattern seen over much of the year so far, energy (12.1 percent) dominated the overall monthly change but intermediates (0.9 percent), capital goods (0.5 percent), consumer durables (0.3 percent) and non-durables (0.5 percent) all posted fresh gains too.The annual core rate accelerated again, climbing from 8.6 percent to 9.2 percent, some 8.9 percentage points above its level at the end of last year. The October update shows that pipeline inflation pressures in German manufacturing are still building rapidly and warn that CPI inflation, already at 4.5 percent last month, could have further to go before finally peaking.

German producer prices

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