As of this writing, the U.S. market is almost myopically focused on inflation — and the battle to choke it off. In recent months, well-documented supply chain issues have blossomed into inflation spikes across a wide range of industries.
It’s no secret that energy and food prices have been rising over the past year, and the Ukraine conflict has piled on additional supply shocks that have increased prices further in 2022. (The European Union receives about 40% of its natural gas from Russian pipelines, and Russia and Ukraine together export more than a quarter of the world’s wheat.)
To add fuel to the fire, labor markets are at their tightest in decades. At the end of the first quarter of 2022, there were a record 5 million more job openings than unemployed. The idea that “transitory” inflation might peak and fade by the end of the spring has been replaced by concerns that stagflation (slow growth and rising prices) could be with us into 2023 and beyond.