Inflation, Recession and Developing Country Debt Top Agenda of Jackson Hole Meeting
The future of interest rates and the threat of stagflation – a phenomenon where the economy and jobs shrink while inflation rises -- dominate the agenda at a three-day global central bank retreat starting on Thursday. This year’s traditional Jackson Hole, Wyoming symposium gathers the US Federal Reserve and other world central banks under the theme "Reassessing Constraints on the Economy and Policy."
“The meeting is focused on trying to tame inflation without causing more harm for developing countries in crisis,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the development group Jubilee USA Network. “We are reminded by the challenging decisions world leaders faced with the economy in the 1970s. At this point with greater threats to the global economy, we are in uncharted waters."
The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates more than two percentage points since the beginning of the year and consumer prices rose the fastest in four decades. The combination of interest rate increases and a strong dollar raises debt levels in developing countries. In July the IMF reported that debt in 60 percent of the poorest countries and 30 percent of emerging middle-income economies reached critically-high levels.
“While lowering inflation is important, we need to keep in mind the global impacts of increased debt, food crises and supply shocks that can undermine the economic stability we hoped to achieve through lower inflation,” shared LeCompte.