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With few exceptions, deflationary forces are likely to challenge growth in much of the world in 2015. With the global economy more tightly integrated than ever before, the risk of much of the world catching a “disinflationary” or deflationary cold is pronounced. Most commodities are trading at or near five year lows, real interest rates negative in various countries, and Central Banks are having difficulty hitting their (admittedly low) inflation targets of 2%. It’s obvious to even the most casual observer that the inflation genie is not even close to being let out of the bottle.
Given that the global economy is generally struggling to generate “escape velocity” growth, the main question is how deflation might spread? I see three transmission mechanisms:
globalization, high debt to GDP ratios, and innovation in technology spurred by R&D.
This note discusses the first two mechanisms with a focus on China’s efforts to halt the “export” of deflation.