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Do commodity prices signal inflation?

  • Economics


Do the rising commodity prices we have seen in recent years reflect basic supply-and-demand developments in various commodity markets, or are they the fi rst signs of inflation? In practice, it’s not always easy to tell the difference - for the public or policymakers - but fundamentally different they are. Central banks can do nothing about relative commodity price pressures, since central banks do not produce commodities. Likewise, commodity-price shocks do not impair the ability of central banks to control inflation in principle, but they can greatly complicate the task.

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