Fact Checking the President on Global Inflation

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Last week, reporters questioned President Biden on the state of the US economy at a Baskin-Robbins in Portland, Oregon. After indicating little worry about the strength of the US dollar, the President added: “Inflation is worldwide. It is worse off everywhere else that isn’t the United States.” It goes without saying, or should, that the President is not responsible for monetary policy, though there are indications that he would like to be, selectively. Additionally, the President is not likely to be briefed on global annualized rates of inflation. 

But such a sweeping, confident assertion as this requires verification. In light of the Biden administration’s credible intellectual commitment to combating disinformation, its officials would undoubtedly agree that every American has a duty to wrest truth from the jaws of mendacity. In that spirit, below are the most recent year-over-year inflation rates of several political and geographic national groupings. In each, US CPI has been added at its appropriately ranked position. 

G-10 Inf (% yoy)
Sweden CPI YoY 1980=100 10.84
UK CPI EU Harmonized YoY NSA 10.10
Eurostat Eurozone MUICP All It 10.00
Denmark CPI YoY 10.00
US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA 8.20
New Zealand CPI All Groups YoY 7.23
Norway CPI YoY 6.89
STCA Canada CPI YoY NSA 2002=1 6.86
Australia CPI All Groups Goods 6.10
Switzerland CPI All Items YoY 3.30
Japan CPI Nationwide YoY 3.00
Eurozone
Lithuania CPI YoY 24.10
Estonia CPI YoY 23.68
Latvia CPI YoY 22.20
Netherlands CPI YoY 14.50
Eurostat Slovakia HICP All Ite 13.60
Belgium CPI YoY NSA 2013=100 11.27
Eurostat Slovenia HICP All Ite 10.60
Austria CPI All Items YoY 10.50
Eurostat Eurozone MUICP All It 10.00
Germany CPI All Items YoY 10.00
Portugal CPI YoY 9.28
Italy CPI NIC All Items YoY NS 8.90
Spain CPI YoY 8.90
Eurostat Luxembourg HICP All I 8.80
Cyprus CPI YoY 8.74
US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA 8.20
Finland CPI All Items YoY 8.12
Eurostat Malta HICP All Items 7.40
France CPI 2015=100 YoY 5.55
EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa)
Turkey CPI YOY % 83.45
Ukraine CPI YoY 24.60
Hungary CPI Yearly 20.10
Bulgaria CPI YoY 18.70
Czech Republic CPI Nominal Chn 18.00
Poland CPI All Items YoY 17.20
Romania CPI YoY 15.88
Russia CPI YoY 13.68
Croatia CPI YoY 12.80
Iceland CPI YoY 9.30
US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA 8.20
South Africa CPI YoY 7.50
Israel CPI YoY NSA 4.59
Asia
Pakistan CPI 2015-16=100 YoY 23.18
US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA 8.20
Singapore CPI All Items YoY 7.50
Philippines CPI All items YoY% 6.90
Thailand CPI All Items YoY 6.41
Indonesia CPI YoY 5.95
India CPI Industrial Workers Y 5.85
South Korea CPI YoY 5.60
Malaysia CPI YoY 2010=100 4.48
Hong Kong CPI Composite All It 4.40
Vietnam CPI All Groups Components 3.94
China CPI YoY 2.80
Taiwan CPI YoY NSA 2.75
Latin America
Venezuela National CPI YoY% 114.13
Argentina National CPI YoY 83.00
Chile CPI YoY NSA 13.73
Colombia CPI YoY 11.44
Mexico CPI YoY 8.70
Lima CPI YoY 8.53
US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA 8.20
Brazil CPI IPCA YoY 7.17
Middle East
Lebanese Monthly Consumer Price 162.47
Yemen Monthly Consumer Price I 9.49
Iran CPI General Index YoY 9.40
US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA 8.20
IMF Iraq Inflation Average Con 6.04
Qatar Consumer Price Index Gen 6.03
Jordan Monthly Consumer Price 5.39
Israel CPI YoY NSA 4.59
IMF Syria Inflation Avg Consum 4.40
Kuwait Consumer Price Index Yo 4.15
Bahrain Consumer Price Index Y 4.00
Saudi Arabia Cost of Living Ge 3.07
United Arab Emirates Consumer 2.50
Oman Consumer Price Index YoY 2.36
North Africa
Egypt Monthly Consumer Price I 15.00
Algiers Consumer Price Index Y 9.84
Morocco Consumer Price Index Y 8.30
US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA 8.20
IMF Tunisia Inflation Avg Cons 5.71
IMF Libya Inflation Average Co 2.77
BRICS
Russia CPI YoY 13.68
US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA 8.20
South Africa CPI YoY 7.50
Brazil CPI IPCA YoY 7.17
India CPI Industrial Workers Y 5.85
China CPI YoY 2.80
(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

As shown, in no region is United States year-over-year inflation, as measured by the headline Consumer Price Index (CPI), the lowest. In Latin America, the Eurozone, and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) categories, US CPI (yoy) is near the bottom of the rankings. In Asia and the Middle East, the US is near the top of the rankings. Among Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRICS), North African nations and the G-10, annualized inflation in the US is roughly in the middle of the rankings. 

Below the countries are combined and ordered from highest to lowest by annualized rates of inflation. 

Rank Country Inf (% yoy)
1 Lebanese Monthly Consumer Price 162.47
2 Venezuela National CPI YoY% 114.13
3 Turkey CPI YOY % 83.45
4 Argentina National CPI YoY 83.00
5 Ukraine CPI YoY 24.60
6 Lithuania CPI YoY 24.10
7 Estonia CPI YoY 23.68
8 Pakistan CPI 2015-16=100 YoY 23.18
9 Latvia CPI YoY 22.20
10 Hungary CPI Yearly 20.10
11 Bulgaria CPI YoY 18.70
12 Czech Republic CPI Nominal Chn 18.00
13 Poland CPI All Items YoY 17.20
14 Romania CPI YoY 15.88
15 Egypt Monthly Consumer Price I 15.00
16 Netherlands CPI YoY 14.50
17 Chile CPI YoY NSA 13.73
18 Russia CPI YoY 13.68
19 Eurostat Slovakia HICP All Ite 13.60
20 Croatia CPI YoY 12.80
21 Colombia CPI YoY 11.44
22 Belgium CPI YoY NSA 2013=100 11.27
23 Sweden CPI YoY 1980=100 10.84
24 Eurostat Slovenia HICP All Ite 10.60
25 Austria CPI All Items YoY 10.50
26 UK CPI EU Harmonized YoY NSA 10.10
27 Eurostat Eurozone MUICP All It 10.00
28 Denmark CPI YoY 10.00
29 Germany CPI All Items YoY 10.00
30 Algiers Consumer Price Index Y 9.84
31 Yemen Monthly Consumer Price I 9.49
32 Iran CPI General Index YoY 9.40
33 Iceland CPI YoY 9.30
34 Portugal CPI YoY 9.28
35 Italy CPI NIC All Items YoY NS 8.90
36 Spain CPI YoY 8.90
37 Eurostat Luxembourg HICP All I 8.80
38 Cyprus CPI YoY 8.74
39 Mexico CPI YoY 8.70
40 Lima CPI YoY 8.53
41 Morocco Consumer Price Index Y 8.30
42 US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA 8.20
43 Finland CPI All Items YoY 8.12
44 South Africa CPI YoY 7.50
45 Singapore CPI All Items YoY 7.50
46 Eurostat Malta HICP All Items 7.40
47 New Zealand CPI All Groups YoY 7.23
48 Brazil CPI IPCA YoY 7.17
49 Philippines CPI All items YoY% 6.90
50 Norway CPI YoY 6.89
51 STCA Canada CPI YoY NSA 2002=1 6.86
52 Thailand CPI All Items YoY 6.41
53 Australia CPI All Groups Goods 6.10
54 IMF Iraq Inflation Average Con 6.04
55 Qatar Consumer Price Index Gen 6.03
56 Indonesia CPI YoY 5.95
57 India CPI Industrial Workers Y 5.85
58 IMF Tunisia Inflation Avg Cons 5.71
59 South Korea CPI YoY 5.60
60 France CPI 2015=100 YoY 5.55
61 Jordan Monthly Consumer Price 5.39
62 Israel CPI YoY NSA 4.59
63 Malaysia CPI YoY 2010=100 4.48
64 Hong Kong CPI Composite All It 4.40
65 IMF Syria Inflation Avg Consum 4.40
66 Kuwait Consumer Price Index Yo 4.15
67 Bahrain Consumer Price Index Y 4.00
68 Vietnam CPI All Groups Compone 3.94
69 Switzerland CPI All Items YoY 3.30
70 Saudi Arabia Cost of Living 3.07
71 Japan CPI Nationwide YoY 3.00
72 China CPI YoY 2.80
73 IMF Libya Inflation Average Co 2.77
74 Taiwan CPI YoY NSA 2.75
75 United Arab Emirates Consumer 2.50
76 Oman Consumer Price Index YoY 2.36
(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

(Some allowance must be made for the standard inaccuracies which arise with any form of economic measurement. Some of these disclosures may be manipulated, if not completely fabricated.)

But assuming that most of these readings are accurate, there are roughly three dozen nations with lower year-over-year rates of inflation than the United States. Of the 75 listed here, 34 (nearly half) are experiencing lower rates of inflation than the US. Contra Mr. Biden’s assertion, many nations are currently experiencing annualized inflation at lower levels than the United States. Among them are Canada, Australia, France, South Korea, Finland, and South Africa. Ten nations, in fact, have annualized rates of interest of half or less of what the United States is currently experiencing.

If we remove the economies which are arguably in hyperinflationary states (Lebanon, Venezuela, Turkey, and Argentina), the average year-over-year inflation among the remaining 72 nations is 9.4 percent. It’s only a few months back that headline inflation in the United States was a fraction below that: 9.1 percent in June 2022. 

Slipshod comments of the sort made by the President may not have any immediate impact other than eroding the credibility of the office from whence they emanate. But an administration which was evidently so troubled by “misinformation” would more profitably target it not by establishing a ministry, but by looking in a mirror.

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