Some of the world’s most powerful economies and their central banks faced with the challenge of in reducing inflation. Through higher rates of interest without triggering the possibility of a recession.
and whether they want to or not and regardless of their opinions, the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and other central banks pushed. Into the middle of a political battle that could jeopardize their independence. And their ability to take decisive action to stop rising prices.
I’ve covered and followed finance and politics for the past forty years as a reporter. More recently, working as an economics researcher. I’m convinced that there two main ways in which politics can affect central bank plans in 2023.
A Challenge To Central Inflation
The rising cost of living is possibly the most pressing issue. That the global economy will face over the next few years. The pace of inflation has increased rapidly and is currently at or close to the highest rate. Since the beginning of time in many advanced economies. Including those in U.S. and in Europe which has caused living standards. To decrease or fall in a variety of countries. This is particularly affecting the most vulnerable people who have a greater percentage of rising prices. Than overall population, due to them spending much more on energy and food.
The dramatic increase in inflation took central banks off guard after 20 years of stable and low inflation. They responded by accelerating the increase of rates of interest. During the second quarter of 2022 and with the Fed in the lead. In the second half of 2022, the U.S. central bank lifted rates 4.25 percentage points over the course of a six-month period. Along with others like the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and others follow on its heels.
Rate Of Central Inflation
Their strategies appear to work. The rate of inflation is in the U.S. has slowed, and within the U.K. and the eurozone new data suggests. That inflation could have reached its peak however, it’s still extremely high. With a rate of about 10%, and could begin to trend downwards.
However, interest rate increases that anticipated to continue through 2023, but at a slower rate. And could further dim the economic outlook that already looking bleak for advanced economies riang4d.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development forecasts that in 2023 each of countries. The U.S. and the eurozone will expand by just 0.5 percent, far beneath their historical averages. The largest economy in Europe, Germany, will actually shrink by 0.3 percent. Within the U.K., the Bank of England estimates for the U.K. economy to shrink until around 2024.
Inflation And Fiscal Spending
This leads us to the first issue in politics that could disrupt Central bank policies: the spending of government. The current political climate is playing out in a variety of ways. For instance, in the U.S., spending has significantly increased. Particularly due to an infrastructure bill of $1.2 trillion construction bill that signed into law at the end of 2021. And the $1.7 trillion budget bill that passed in December.
This type of budgetary policy that could remain in place for a long time can undermine efforts of central banks such as the Fed to combat inflation. While central banks try to lower inflation by cutting the demand for their services, increasing spending by the government results in the opposite. This could lead the Fed as well as other banks to increase rates higher than they would normally have to.
In Europe as well as the U.K., governments have forced to pay billions of dollars to help pay for the energy costs of business and consumers, while the slowdown in economic growth has slashed the tax revenues of their governments, leading to massive deficits in the public sector.
However, in this country, in the U.K. The Conservative government emphasized fighting inflation, cutting energy subsidies to consumers as well as higher taxes, and more cuts to the public sector spending should it win in the next election which scheduled to held in 2024. While these are actions that are deflationary, they’re politically controversial. The Bank of England now divided on whether or how quickly to increase rates.
Independence Of Banks Threatened
Another issue with the political system is more important for central banks, which makes their job more difficult. Over the last two decades, their detachment from interference from the government and the establishment of inflation targets that publicly set at 2% have helped them establish credibility in the fight against inflation, that was at historical levels for the majority of this century.
In the present, their credibility and the security of their homes could be in danger. Central bankers, particularly in Europe aware of the concerns of the public about how rising interest rates can slow growth, in part due to their economies more seriously impacted than those in those in the U.S. by the Ukraine conflict. Consumers are also suffering from higher mortgage rates, which could cause a decline in the housing market.
In the meantime central bank efforts to convince workers to demand more wages to offset inflation, which could help decrease the need for additional interest rate hikes have been disastrously unsuccessful, particularly in Britain in the United Kingdom, where a flurry of protests by workers in the public sector is not slowing down.
European Central Bank
The long-running political conflict regarding the role of the European Central Bank have been amplified through elections of far-right government in a number of eurozone countries.
Traditionally, under the aegis by the German Bundesbank in particular, The European Central Bank has worried about inflation more than other central banks. Due to political pressures and pressures, the European Central Bank has moved slower. Than other central banks in easing the policy that has led to low or even negative rates.
On the opposite side of the Atlantic in which Fed chief Jerome Powell has rejected. Any attempts to reduce his focus on inflation political. Pressures are likely to increase from both sides especially when Donald Trump becomes the Republican candidate for president. This could cause Congress or an administration that is new to attempt to alter. The approach of the central bank or its direction, or even its mission.