Inflationary pressures—their determinants and evolution—continue to dominate policy discussions. In this post, we provide a simple framework to analyze the determinants of different measures of inflation and use it to lay out a risk-scenario analysis. We find that global supply factors captured by the New York Fed’s Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI) are strongly associated with inflationary developments measured by the producer price index (PPI) and by the c0nsumer price index (CPI). Under the assumption that the GSCPI falls back to its historical average over twelve months, our model would project a substantial easing of consumer price inflation over 2023 to below 4.0 percent. The normalization of the GSCPI would then be consistent with a return of inflation to levels consistent with a soft-landing scenario.
In a January 2022 post, we first presented the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI), a parsimonious global measure designed to capture supply chain disruptions using a range of indicators. In this post, we review GSCPI readings through December 2022, and then briefly discuss the drivers of recent moves in the index. While supply chain disruptions have significantly diminished over the course of 2022, the reversion of the index toward a normal historical range has paused over the past three months. Our analysis attributes the recent pause largely to the pandemic in China amid an easing of “Zero COVID” policies.
After making progress slowing the pace of debt accumulation prior to the pandemic, China saw its debt levels surge in 2020 as the government responded to the severe economic slowdown with credit-led stimulus. With China currently in the midst of another sharp decline in economic activity due to its property slump and zero-COVID strategy, Chinese authorities have responded again by pushing out credit to soften the downturn despite already high levels of debt on corporate, household, and government balance sheets. In this post, we revisit China’s debt buildup and consider the growing constraints on Chinese policymakers’ tools to navigate future economic challenges.
The Chinese government has followed a “zero covid strategy” (ZCS) ever since the world’s first COVID-19 lockdowns ended in China around late March and early April of 2020. While this strategy has been effective at maintaining low infection levels and robust manufacturing and export activity, its viability is being severely strained by the spread of increasingly infectious coronavirus variants. As a result, there now appears to be a fundamental incompatibility between the ZCS and the government’s economic growth objectives.
Hunter Clark takes a look at China’s export performance for 2020, which has been stronger than expected owing to an export structure well-positioned for the COVID-19 crisis.