The wealthiest nations are emerging from the pandemic stronger than anyone thought, nervous about inflation but otherwise feeling they’ve dodged a bullet. That’s not the case for developing countries, with many still overwhelmed by Covid-19 and certainly unable to dole out stimulus checks.
On this week’s podcast, World Bank Chief Economist Carmen Reinhart tells host Stephanie Flanders why she worries the recent surge in inflation could be around for awhile, hitting the world’s poorest hardest. Next, Rome-based economics reporter Alessandra Migliaccio reveals the surprising reason Italian tomatoes are rotting in the field. And, Sydney-based economics reporter Michael Heath discusses why critics contend Australia, long a melting pot of cultures, has lost its way on immigration.
Rising prices are spooking investors and policymakers as many economies rebound from the pandemic. In the U.S., a broad measure of inflation jumped 5% in May, its biggest annual gain since 2008. Many central bankers argue inflation is a temporary reaction to a rapidly reheating economy, but Reinhart says she isn’t so sure. Covid-19 was a much larger global shock than the 2008 financial crisis, with bank moves to expand the money supply providing a much bigger multiplier effect. Those factors could stoke longer-lasting inflation this time around.