Fed Struggles to Halt March of Stagflation

by: Barry Ritholtz

Why does it seem that such a disproportionate number of high quality reads seem to come from across the pond? Perhaps that distance gives them a perspective we lack, given our own closeness to matters here in the States.

No matter. This is from the Times of London:

"When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions,” said Claudius in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Stagflation hadn't been invented back in the Bard's day, but, as with much of the man's insights, his description of Ophelia's desperate condition might well serve as a useful piece of modern economic analysis.

The ailing US economy is confronted not by a single threat but by a whole battalion of sorrows on the march that comprises deepening recession and accelerating inflation.

Last week the Government reported that in the year to January consumer prices rose by 4.3 per cent. This is so far above the top end of anybody's definition of price stability as to be more than slightly alarming. The detail of the data showed just how pervasive inflation has become. It goes well beyond the usual suspects of oil and energy-related products and even food...

This is why people in the United States are worrying openly about stagflation. The rising inflation trend seems, at least so far, to be impervious to the weakening economy. Even as price pressures have picked up, the signs of recession have proliferated."

Go read the whole thing . . .

Fed struggles to halt march of stagflation
Gerard Baker
The Times, February 26, 2008