Reaping the Whirlwind: A September 2022 Inflation Update!

In my early 2021 posts on inflation, I argued that while the higher inflation that we were just starting to see could be explained by COVID and supply chain issues, prudence on the part of policy makers required that it be taken as a long term threat and dealt with quickly. Not only did they not do so, but the fiscal and monetary actions they took in 2021 exacerbated inflationary pressures. By the start of 2022, the window for early action had closed and for much of this year, inflation has been the elephant in the room, driving markets and forcing central banks to be reactive, and its presence has already induced me to write three posts on its impact. In my first on May 6, 2022, I put the surge in inflation, in 2022, in historical context and argued that it is unexpected inflation that shakes up the economy and caused damage to financial assets, and that until we reached a steady state, where expectations and actual inflation converge, markets would continue to be unsettled. In a follow-up post on May 20, I looked at the disparate effects of inflation on individual companies, positing that safer companies with pricing power are more protected against inflation than riskier companies in competitive businesses. In a third post on July 1, 2022, I pointed to inflation as a key culprit in the retreat of risk capital, i.e., capital invested in the riskiest segments of every market, and presented evidence (Read more...)