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2Q 2021 Market and Economic Overview

Seemingly on everybody’s lips (well, those in the world of finance, at least), is that dreaded “I” word: Inflation. The most immediate concern is the extent to which inflation will rebound as economies “reopen”. This will be influenced by several factors, including the relative speed at which demand recovers and supply is restored, the extent to which any resulting price pressures are absorbed in firms’ margins, and the degree to which the rebound in global commodity prices over the past year is sustained. The rise in inflation so far has largely reflected a combination of a rebound in commodity prices and what can be termed “reopening” inflation – that is to say, a rebound in prices caused by the unwinding of pandemic-era distortions such as supply bottlenecks. These could prove to be transitory, as the Central Bankers would have us believe. However, lurking in the background is a more fundamental concern that the pandemic will spell the end of the low inflation era of the past thirty years and mark the start of a period of structurally higher inflation over the medium term.

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