Viewpoint – April 2022

The war in Ukraine, and widespread evidence of Russia’s depravity as its advance falters, continues to cast a dark shadow over the world. With Russia’s invasion now into its third month, and both sides increasingly intransigent with no signs of a negotiated end in sight, the probability of a long, attritional war is rising. The longer the war drags on, the greater the risk of longer lasting economic damage, transmitted primarily through global energy and agricultural commodity prices. Yet in April it was deepening worries about economic imbalances, which had been developing long before the invasion, that drove financial markets – ultra-loose monetary and fiscal stimulus adding fuel to the fire of post-pandemic release of pent-up demand, triggering excess demand in supply-constrained markets, in turn leading to high and persistent inflation.