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The stagflation threat

Yes, the UK does face the threat of stagflation. Some of the sources of this threat are temporary, but one other is not.

Stagflation is an ugly word for an ugly thing – a combination of slow growth and higher inflation. It’s what happens when it becomes more difficult or expensive for firms to produce goods and services with the result that they raise prices or cut production or both.

And production is becoming more difficult and expensive. One reason for this is the quadrupling of gas prices this year. This adds to the costs of production, as well as squeezing our real incomes and hence our spending. But it is only the most spectacular example of a wider phenomenon: commodity prices generally (as measured by the GSCI) have risen more than 35 per cent so far this year.

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