Typically one number describes inflation. The 12-month inflation rate in the U.K. was 10.1% during March. Slightly less, for the U.S. it’s 5%.
Below, you can compare annual inflation rates. Except for Japan, they are as of March 2023. Countries look odd because size and shape reflect population:
We do know, though, that inflation is much more than a number.
Maybe it’s breakfast?
We can start with the world and orange juice. Up a whopping three times since 2019, the reasons related to a citrus blight and the weather. As for the impact, a more expensive breakfast impacts people differently because rising prices occupy a larger slice of a lower income:
Even more precisely, for the U.K., milk, bread, and eggs took the biggest leap:
Meanwhile, breakfast inflation seems to be calming in the U.S., especially if you eat bananas:
Our Bottom Line: Inflation
Many economics books would tell you that we can have demand pull, cost push, or a single cause of global inflation. Demand pull refers to too many dollars chasing too few goods while cost push focuses on land, labor, and /or capital rising in price. Meanwhile, the singular cause is one commodity going up in price and then rippling through the economy…like oil. Then, to all of this, we can add the monetarists that say it is all about the money supply and nothing else. When too many dollars circulate, prices rise.
Asked about the current causes of inflation, the BLS says labor market core inflation rippled throughout the economy. Then, they also cite energy prices, supply backlogs, and auto-related prices.
As a result, we could say that our inflation onslaught seems to be coming from all directions.
My sources and more: I started pondering breakfast inflation after a recent Bloomberg supply chain email. From there, I wound up at the FT inflation tracker and the BLS. Then, finally, Mashed. had some of the orange juice story.
Please note that parts of today’s Bottom Line were in a previous econlife post.