Emerging Markets May Be Kings Of Inflation

The IMF is worried to death that emerging markets are facing substantial inflation and are doing nothing about it. If the agency is right, some of the most promising economies in the world could badly cripple themselves by pursing growth at any cost.

According to Bloomberg, “Simon Johnson, the IMF’s outgoing chief economist, told reporters that emerging economies in Asia, in particular, were in danger of falling behind the curve on inflation.”

It would be ironic if the one thing that set companies like China and India apart from the US and Europe should turn out to be their undoing. There is no surprise in this. The lesson has been taught over and over from Japan to Brazil. Economic policy that favors GDP growth over all else burns itself down with inflation.

The threat of problems in the emerging world cannot be contained there. These nations will have to raise the prices of the goods they export, putting pressure on inflation in the US. Rising prices in these fast-growing markets will also undercut their ability to buy imports.

The IMF is right, and it is sending a message which is that inflation is growing countries cannot be contained there.

Douglas A. McIntyre