Unrest will export inflation
At the start of the year I wrote a list on our blog of the things we should be worried about. It was 14 items long. Number six was social unrest in emerging markets. Rising food prices might irritate consumers in developed countries, I said, but they starve people in many developing countries. And nothing drives revolt quite like fear of hunger.
As ever, it is hard to sort out exactly what the trigger has been for the revolutions in the Middle East, but inflation has had something to do with it. It is bad enough being tyrannised and unemployed without being threatened by hunger too. So what next?
The main non-humanitarian concern for us is the oil price. What’s happened so far doesn’t necessarily add up to a sustained supply shock (most of these countries will have no financial choice but to pump oil regardless of who is in charge). But that doesn’t mean it won’t become one.
• Read the full editor’s letter here: Unrest will export inflation