News from China this morning may represent the beginning of the end of the Trump bounce in share prices. And the news relates to inflation.The markets keep hitting highs, and in the US, it’s been a triumvirate of highs – The Dow Jones, NASDAQ and S&P 500 have been hitting records with such regularity that it has ceased to be news.
In the US, Jim Cramer, host of a popular TV show Mad Money reckons that there is a sea change afoot. He says that the markets are booming because of the realisation that worldwide economic growth is going to occur without inflation.
And that’s the key bit, without inflation.
Sure, prices are up at the moment, UK inflation has jumped, for example, but, or so goes the cheerful narrative, it is all one-offs, and that once things settle down, growth can pick-up pace, and inflation will drop back to a very low level.
But news in from China this morning may contradict this.
In January, China’s inflation rate rose to 2.5 per cent, a 32-month high.
More to the point, China’s producer price inflation surged to 6.9 per cent last month. To put that in perspective, Chinese producer price inflation was negative a few months ago.
What happens to China’s producer prices affects us down the line.
So does that mean that the dream of global growth without inflation is being exposed as precisely that– a dream?
Julian Evans-Pritchard, China Economist, Capital Economics is not so worried. He said: “Looking ahead, we don’t expect such high rates of headline inflation to last. The base effects that have boosted year-on-year price gains in recent months are soon going to go into reverse. Meanwhile, tighter monetary policy, slowing income growth and cooling property prices should keep broader price pressure contained over the medium-term."