Consumer prices are rising across the world, pushing inflation levels in wealthy nations in April to the highest level in 12 years, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development said this week.
Rising energy prices pushed annual inflation across the 36 members of the OECD to 3.3% in April, the fastest pace since October 2008. That’s compared with an increase of 2.4% in March.
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Even excluding food and energy – which tend to be more volatile – prices across the world surged in April, the Paris-based organization said, jumping 2.4% in April, compared with 1.8% in March.
The sudden rise in inflation has unsettled investors, particularly as the Biden administration pushes forward with a $6 trillion budget proposal that some experts worry could push prices even higher.
“Market worries surrounding high and accelerating inflation stem from the risk that pent-up demand, strong fiscal stimulus and the Fed’s commitment to keep policy rates on hold will cause overheating,” Moody’s Analytics said in a note to investors this week.
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The Labor Department reported last month that U.S. consumer prices for goods and services surged 0.8% in April, the largest monthly increase in more than a decade and the fastest year-over-year jump since 2008. Excluding the volatile food and energy data, core inflation rose 0.9% in April and 3% over the past 12 months.
The Federal Reserve, led by Chairman Jerome Powell, has acknowledged that easy monetary policy combined with fiscal spending will lead to a temporary increase in prices amid surging demand. But Powell has repeatedly dismissed concerns of persistent inflation and has remained committed to holding interest rates near zero, where they have sat since March 2020.
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Economic projections from policymakers’ last meeting show that most officials expect rates to remain near zero through 2023.
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