Commodity price rises are fundamental, not monetary

I liked Paul Krugman's column today.

One thing he did not exactly say but I wish he had:  Commodity price rises have little to do with monetary and currency policies in the US and around the world.  To the extent that they are connected, they are connected through the market's attempt to correct long-held imbalances, particularly China's undervalued currency.  China's inflation is the market fighting that undervaluation, and that inflation is helping to spur demand for commodities.  But what's important to note is that the underlying demand is fundamental: it would have been there long ago except for China's past suppression of it through currency policy.  By the same token, China's inflation is helping to balance our trade deficit.

We'd be wise to think about possible collateral damage of higher commodity prices, since I suspect high prices could be here to stay.  But this really should have no bearing on monetary policy.


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