I was chatting to my good friend and contact Paul Hodges of International eChem yesterday.He believes we’ve entered globalisation part II, where the impact of higher raw material prices will trigger harmful inflation.
As Ben Bernanke has pointed out, oil prices are 40% higher than would otherwise have been the case without the recent boom in Chinese demand.
The upside of China’s export boom has been staggeringly cheap prices of everything from low-end clothing to high-end electronics. This has to some extent offset the impact of job losses as manufacturing has migrated east.
But Paul points out that raw material costs are now a much bigger portion of finished goods prices with wage costs also on the rise in China.
The west could therefore be hit by a combination of higher fuel prices and higher consumer goods prices, while it continues to grapple with the decline of its manufacturing industries.
Cheerful stuff, eh?