微博

ECO中文网

 找回密码
 立即注册

QQ登录

只需一步,快速开始

查看: 1068|回复: 0
收起左侧

2022.05.11 如果供应冲击消退,通胀将减弱

[复制链接]
发表于 2022-5-12 02:28:39 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

马上注册 与译者交流

您需要 登录 才可以下载或查看,没有帐号?立即注册

x
By Invitation | Finance and economics
Angel Ubide expects inflation to subside if supply shocks fade
The hedge-fund economist says there is no cause for panic

May 11th 2022

Share

Give
After languishing for two decades, inflation has suddenly risen to heights not seen in 40 years. Is it owing to bad policies, or bad luck? Will high inflation persist, or can it be tamed without a recession? In broad terms, inflation results from some combination of supply shocks, demand strength and inflation expectations. Supply shocks are typically short term and transitory, while demand strength averages out over the business cycle. Only changes in inflation expectations have permanent effects on inflation. Determining which of the three explains the current surge will indicate whether inflation in America will drop back to the Federal Reserve’s 2% target without a recession.

The series of transitory supply shocks are ripple effects from the success of macroeconomic policies introduced to support liquidity and incomes during the recession caused by covid-19. Combined with a shift in consumption away from services and towards goods, the abrupt reopening of the economy after lockdowns caught the global manufacturing sector unprepared. This has created widespread supply-chain bottlenecks and scarcity in global goods and commodities markets that have affected multiple items in the consumer-price index’s (cpi) basket of goods and services. The Russian invasion of Ukraine provided a further shock to energy prices, with widespread effects across all commodities.


Scarcity generates non-linear increases in prices: scarcity makes prices much more sensitive to demand. With car inventories at all-time lows, for example, the price of used cars in America increased by almost 50% in 2021. As a result, although cars represent less than 10% of the cpi basket, they generated about 50% of core cpi inflation in 2021. The counterfactual is clear: had demand been more evenly distributed across goods and services, the same amount of demand would have generated a much smaller increase in prices.

Scarcity of goods and commodities is transitory, though it can endure for a long time. The extent and breadth of current price shocks is of historic dimensions. American core-goods inflation—which excludes energy and food prices—has averaged about zero in the past few decades, but is now running at well over 10%. Barring new shocks, goods prices will at least stabilise. Their inflation rate thus will decline to zero, or could even turn negative if a surfeit of production, in response to scarcity, eventually results in excess supply of goods, or if the geopolitical risk priced into commodity markets subsides.

Of course, scarcity would not have emerged had demand growth been weak. But how much unexpected inflation did the strong growth in demand generate? Probably very little. Compared with the consensus forecast at the beginning of January 2021, America’s unemployment rate declined during the year by 1.3 percentage points more than expected, while the deflator for core personal-consumption expenditures increased by 2.8 percentage points more than expected. Assuming that the pre-covid relationship between unemployment and inflation had not changed, this unexpected decline in the unemployment rate would explain just 0.1-0.2 of the additional 2.8 percentage points of core inflation. But we can dig deeper.


First, it is possible that the non-accelerating-inflation rate of unemployment (nairu) increased during the covid period (possibly because workers dropped from the labour force for fear of infection), amplifying the inflationary effect of the reduction in unemployment. Some estimates place America’s nairu about 1.5 percentage points higher than before the pandemic. This increase in the nairu would have generated an additional 0.3 percentage points of inflation, still a far cry from the 2.8 points by which core inflation jumped.

Second, it is also possible that inflation has become more sensitive to changes in the unemployment rate. But this seems unlikely—at least so far. Core-services inflation, the part of inflation most sensitive to demand, has evolved in line with previous periods of declining unemployment. And the sensitivity of core inflation to unemployment would have had to have increased ten-fold to explain the inflation surprise.

Third, wage growth has risen, which could be a precursor of much faster inflation. But it is too early to tell if we are in a wage-price spiral. The current increase could just be a one-off. The main driver of strong wage growth is the “great renegotiation” of contracts, particularly in the most poorly-paid sectors. Record numbers of workers searched for new jobs when the economy reopened. At the same time, record numbers of companies searched for new hires. This has boosted the bargaining power of employees in sectors such as leisure and hospitality, where wages were probably too low. For now, the dynamics of wage growth resemble a sudden increase in the “market minimum wage”. This could change if workers demand further large wage increases to compensate for the increases in commodity prices and, importantly, if firms also retain the pricing power to pass them on to customers through sales prices.

This faster wage growth at the low end of the pay scale need not be inflationary if it reflects growing productivity growth. The pandemic has increased the market share of online retailers, who apply the principles of manufacturing to commercial distribution. They generate higher productivity growth than their bricks-and-mortar counterparts. Overall a growing share of the services sector is adopting practices borrowed from manufacturing, and enjoying greater productivity as a result. Higher wages follow. This creates a wage floor for low-skilled workers and heaps pressure on other firms to keep up.

All this discussion would be moot if erratic inflation expectations emerge. They were too low for a long time. Measures of short-term inflation expectations have increased rapidly (mostly the reaction to the increase in the cost of food and energy). But these have not, in the past, been a good predictor of inflation. Longer-term measures of inflation expectations, which are better at predicting future inflation, have increased—but only to levels compatible with the Fed’s tolerance around its 2% target. While upside risks remain, it is extraordinary that long-term inflation expectations remain relatively well anchored despite the 40-year high in inflation and the widespread and salient increases in prices.

With inflation expectations steady, inflation is likely to converge back to the 2% target once the supply shocks fade. But there is no room for complacency: inflation is an economic-policy phenomenon and inflation expectations will only remain anchored if the right mix of policies is adopted. Thankfully this is already happening. The Fed has rapidly shifted its stance on monetary policy and financial conditions have tightened fast.


In the end, central banks must accept that a symmetric-inflation objective requires taking some upside-inflation risks. There is a clear trade-off for monetary policy: the less upside inflation risk is accepted, the more the inflation objective is a ceiling, and not a midpoint, and the more future growth is forgone. The current inflation environment is extraordinary and will require nimble and symmetric decision-making. There is no room for complacency, but no need to panic either. ■





_______________
应邀参加|金融与经济
安吉尔-乌比德预计,如果供应冲击消退,通胀将减弱
这位对冲基金经济学家说,没有理由感到恐慌

2022年5月11日

在徘徊了20年之后,通货膨胀突然上升到了40年来所没有的高度。这究竟是由于糟糕的政策,还是运气不好?高通货膨胀是否会持续下去,或者是否可以在不发生经济衰退的情况下将其控制住?从广义上讲,通货膨胀是由供应冲击、需求强度和通货膨胀预期的某种组合造成的。供应冲击通常是短期和过渡性的,而需求强度在商业周期内平均化。只有通胀预期的变化对通胀有永久性的影响。确定这三者中的哪一个解释了当前的激增,将表明美国的通货膨胀是否会在不发生衰退的情况下回落到美联储的2%的目标。

一系列过渡性的供应冲击是在covid-19引起的经济衰退期间为支持流动性和收入而推出的宏观经济政策的成功所带来的连锁反应。再加上消费从服务转向商品,封锁后经济突然重新开放,使全球制造业毫无准备。这在全球货物和商品市场上造成了广泛的供应链瓶颈和稀缺性,影响了消费者价格指数(cpi)的一揽子货物和服务中的多个项目。俄罗斯入侵乌克兰给能源价格带来了进一步的冲击,对所有商品都产生了广泛的影响。


稀缺性产生了价格的非线性增长:稀缺性使价格对需求更加敏感。例如,随着汽车库存处于历史低位,美国的二手车价格在2021年增长了近50%。因此,尽管汽车在cpi篮子中占不到10%,但它们在2021年产生了约50%的核心cpi通胀。反事实很清楚:如果需求在商品和服务上分布得更均匀,同样数量的需求会产生小得多的价格增长。

货物和商品的稀缺性是短暂的,尽管它可以持续很长一段时间。当前价格冲击的程度和广度是历史性的。美国的核心商品通胀率--不包括能源和食品价格--在过去几十年中平均约为零,但现在的通胀率远远超过10%。如果没有新的冲击,商品价格至少会稳定下来。因此,他们的通货膨胀率将下降到零,甚至可能变成负数,如果生产过剩,以应对稀缺性,最终导致商品供应过剩,或者如果商品市场定价的地缘政治风险减弱。

当然,如果需求增长乏力,稀缺性就不会出现。但需求的强劲增长产生了多少意外的通货膨胀?可能是非常少。与2021年1月初的共识预测相比,美国的失业率在这一年里比预期多下降了1.3个百分点,而核心个人消费支出的平减指数比预期多增加了2.8个百分点。假设失业率和通胀率之间的前期关系没有改变,失业率的这一意外下降只能解释核心通胀率额外2.8个百分点中的0.1-0.2。但我们可以更深入地挖掘。


首先,有可能非加速通货膨胀的失业率(nairu)在covid期间增加了(可能是因为工人因害怕感染而退出劳动力),放大了失业率下降的通货膨胀效应。一些估计认为,美国的nairu比大流行之前高出约1.5个百分点。奈鲁的增加会产生额外的0.3个百分点的通货膨胀,与核心通货膨胀率跃升的2.8个百分点相比,仍然相差甚远。

第二,也有可能是通货膨胀对失业率的变化变得更加敏感。但这似乎不太可能--至少到目前为止。核心服务通胀,即对需求最敏感的那部分通胀,已经与以前的失业率下降时期相一致。而核心通货膨胀对失业的敏感性必须增加十倍才能解释通货膨胀的意外。

第三,工资增长已经上升,这可能是更快的通货膨胀的前兆。但现在判断我们是否处于工资价格螺旋上升阶段还为时尚早。目前的增长可能只是一次性的。工资强劲增长的主要驱动力是合同的 "大重新谈判",特别是在收入最差的部门。当经济重新开放时,创纪录的工人寻找新的工作。同时,创纪录的公司也在寻找新员工。这提高了休闲和酒店等部门雇员的议价能力,这些部门的工资可能太低。目前,工资增长的动态类似于 "市场最低工资 "的突然增加。如果工人要求进一步大幅提高工资以补偿商品价格的上涨,而且重要的是,如果企业也保留定价权,通过销售价格将其转嫁给客户,这种情况可能会改变。

这种低端工资的快速增长如果反映了生产力的增长,就不一定是通货膨胀。这场大流行增加了在线零售商的市场份额,他们将制造业的原则应用于商业分销。他们产生了比实体店同行更高的生产力增长。总的来说,越来越多的服务部门正在采用从制造业借来的做法,并因此享受更高的生产力。工资也随之提高。这为低技能工人创造了一个工资底线,并给其他公司带来了压力,使其跟上时代。

如果出现了不稳定的通胀预期,所有这些讨论都将是没有意义的。它们在很长一段时间内都太低了。短期通胀预期的措施已经迅速增加(主要是对食品和能源成本增加的反应)。但是,在过去,这些并不是预测通货膨胀的好办法。较长期的通胀预期措施,能更好地预测未来的通胀,已经增加了--但只是达到了与美联储在其2%目标附近的容忍度相适应的水平。虽然上行风险仍然存在,但非同寻常的是,尽管通胀率达到了40年来的高点,而且价格广泛而突出地上涨,但长期通胀预期仍然相对稳固。

随着通胀预期的稳定,一旦供应冲击消退,通胀可能会收敛到2%的目标。但没有自满的余地:通胀是一种经济政策现象,只有采取正确的政策组合,通胀预期才能保持稳定。值得庆幸的是,这已经在发生。美联储已经迅速转变了对货币政策的立场,金融条件已经快速收紧。


最后,中央银行必须接受这样的事实:对称通胀目标需要承担一些上行通胀的风险。对货币政策来说,有一个明显的权衡:接受的上行通胀风险越少,通胀目标就越是一个上限,而不是一个中点,未来的增长也就越是被放弃了。目前的通货膨胀环境是非同寻常的,需要灵活和对称的决策。没有自满的余地,但也没有必要惊慌失措。■
_______________
您需要登录后才可以回帖 登录 | 立即注册

本版积分规则

QQ|小黑屋|手机版|网站地图|关于我们|七月天| ECO中文网 ( 京ICP备06039041号  

GMT+8, 2022-12-1 20:33 , Processed in 0.069476 second(s), 20 queries .

Powered by Discuz! X3.3

© 2001-2017 Comsenz Inc.

快速回复 返回顶部 返回列表