The slow burn: Fears of runaway inflation may be misplaced
The American economist Milton Friedman once famously proclaimed that inflation was taxation without legislation. Whether Friedman’s postulation was true or not, there is no doubt that heavily-indebted governments have benefitted from higher levels of inflation in the past. Institutional investors with large real estate portfolios could also lay claim to have benefitted in times of inflation, as real estate exposure is, at least in theory, able to provide a hedge against inflation.
The latter assertion is set to be truly stress-tested over the coming months and years, if those pushing fears of long-term inflation are to be believed. At present, alarmists appear to have some ground to stand on. Euro zone inflation hit a 13-year high of 3.4 percent at the end of September, while many analysts now see inflation moving to above 4 percent in the UK this year and remaining there or rising in 2022. Over the Atlantic, inflation reached a 13-year high of 5.4 percent in June, only dro