Monday, February 11, 2013

The BRiCs Little Inflation and Growth Problem

Consider the following charts of the year over year percentage change in inflation from Russia, Brazil and India:

All three economies have an inflation rate that is running hot on an annual percentage change basis.  Russia's (top chart) dropped to a decent 3.6% in June of 2012.  But since then it has been rising.  While it appeared to plateau in he 6.5-6.6 area towards the end of last year, inflation edged higher in the latest report to 7.1%.  Brazilian inflation (middle chart) bottomed at 4.92% in July of last year, but has since been moving consistently higher, currently sitting at 6.15%.  It recently printed its highest level in 8 years.  And India's inflation has been stubbornly sitting at just over 7% for the last year. 

Consider the inflation information in conjunction with the GDP data below:

All three countries are seeing a drop in the GDP growth rates.

The problem each of these countries faces is that to encourage growth their respective central banks would lower interest rates.  But their respectively high inflation rates make that a non-starter, forcing them ti either find other ways to encourage growth or to accept slower economic growth.