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-10Inf (% yoy)Sweden CPI YoY 1980=10010.84UK CPI EU Harmonized YoY NSA10.10Eurostat Eurozone MUICP All It10.00Denmark CPI YoY10.00US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA8.20New Zealand CPI All Groups YoY7.23Norway CPI YoY6.89STCA Canada CPI YoY NSA 2002=16.86Australia CPI All Groups Goods6.10Switzerland CPI All Items YoY3.30Japan CPI Nationwide YoY3.00EurozoneLithuania CPI YoY24.10Estonia CPI YoY23.68Latvia CPI YoY22.20Netherlands CPI YoY14.50Eurostat Slovakia HICP All Ite13.60Belgium CPI YoY NSA 2013=10011.27Eurostat Slovenia HICP All Ite10.60Austria CPI All Items YoY10.50Eurostat Eurozone MUICP All It10.00Germany CPI All Items YoY10.00Portugal CPI YoY9.28Italy CPI NIC All Items YoY NS8.90Spain CPI YoY8.90Eurostat Luxembourg HICP All I8.80Cyprus CPI YoY8.74US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA8.20Finland CPI All Items YoY8.12Eurostat Malta HICP All Items7.40France CPI 2015=100 YoY5.55EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa)Turkey CPI YOY %83.45Ukraine CPI YoY24.60Hungary CPI Yearly20.10Bulgaria CPI YoY18.70Czech Republic CPI Nominal Chn18.00Poland CPI All Items YoY17.20Romania CPI YoY15.88Russia CPI YoY13.68Croatia CPI YoY12.80Iceland CPI YoY9.30US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA8.20South Africa CPI YoY7.50Israel CPI YoY NSA4.59AsiaPakistan CPI 2015-16=100 YoY23.18US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA8.20Singapore CPI All Items YoY7.50Philippines CPI All items YoY%6.90Thailand CPI All Items YoY6.41Indonesia CPI YoY5.95India CPI Industrial Workers Y5.85South Korea CPI YoY5.60Malaysia CPI YoY 2010=1004.48Hong Kong CPI Composite All It4.40Vietnam CPI All Groups Components3.94China CPI YoY2.80Taiwan CPI YoY NSA2.75Latin AmericaVenezuela National CPI YoY%114.13Argentina National CPI YoY83.00Chile CPI YoY NSA13.73Colombia CPI YoY11.44Mexico CPI YoY8.70Lima CPI YoY8.53US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA8.20Brazil CPI IPCA YoY7.17Middle EastLebanese Monthly Consumer Price162.47Yemen Monthly Consumer Price I9.49Iran CPI General Index YoY9.40US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA8.20IMF Iraq Inflation Average Con6.04Qatar Consumer Price Index Gen6.03Jordan Monthly Consumer Price5.39Israel CPI YoY NSA4.59IMF Syria Inflation Avg Consum4.40Kuwait Consumer Price Index Yo4.15Bahrain Consumer Price Index Y4.00Saudi Arabia Cost of Living Ge3.07United Arab Emirates Consumer2.50Oman Consumer Price Index YoY2.36North AfricaEgypt Monthly Consumer Price I15.00Algiers Consumer Price Index Y9.84Morocco Consumer Price Index Y8.30US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA8.20IMF Tunisia Inflation Avg Cons5.71IMF Libya Inflation Average Co2.77BRICSRussia CPI YoY13.68US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA8.20South Africa CPI YoY7.50Brazil CPI IPCA YoY7.17India CPI Industrial Workers Y5.85China CPI YoY2.80(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. 

RankCountryInf (% yoy)1Lebanese Monthly Consumer Price162.472Venezuela National CPI YoY%114.133Turkey CPI YOY %83.454Argentina National CPI YoY83.005Ukraine CPI YoY24.606Lithuania CPI YoY24.107Estonia CPI YoY23.688Pakistan CPI 2015-16=100 YoY23.189Latvia CPI YoY22.2010Hungary CPI Yearly20.1011Bulgaria CPI YoY18.7012Czech Republic CPI Nominal Chn18.0013Poland CPI All Items YoY17.2014Romania CPI YoY15.8815Egypt Monthly Consumer Price I15.0016Netherlands CPI YoY14.5017Chile CPI YoY NSA13.7318Russia CPI YoY13.6819Eurostat Slovakia HICP All Ite13.6020Croatia CPI YoY12.8021Colombia CPI YoY11.4422Belgium CPI YoY NSA 2013=10011.2723Sweden CPI YoY 1980=10010.8424Eurostat Slovenia HICP All Ite10.6025Austria CPI All Items YoY10.5026UK CPI EU Harmonized YoY NSA10.1027Eurostat Eurozone MUICP All It10.0028Denmark CPI YoY10.0029Germany CPI All Items YoY10.0030Algiers Consumer Price Index Y9.8431Yemen Monthly Consumer Price I9.4932Iran CPI General Index YoY9.4033Iceland CPI YoY9.3034Portugal CPI YoY9.2835Italy CPI NIC All Items YoY NS8.9036Spain CPI YoY8.9037Eurostat Luxembourg HICP All I8.8038Cyprus CPI YoY8.7439Mexico CPI YoY8.7040Lima CPI YoY8.5341Morocco Consumer Price Index Y8.3042US CPI Urban Consumers YoY NSA8.2043Finland CPI All Items YoY8.1244South Africa CPI YoY7.5045Singapore CPI All Items YoY7.5046Eurostat Malta HICP All Items7.4047New Zealand CPI All Groups YoY7.2348Brazil CPI IPCA YoY7.1749Philippines CPI All items YoY%6.9050Norway CPI YoY6.8951STCA Canada CPI YoY NSA 2002=16.8652Thailand CPI All Items YoY6.4153Australia CPI All Groups Goods6.1054IMF Iraq Inflation Average Con6.0455Qatar Consumer Price Index Gen6.0356Indonesia CPI YoY5.9557India CPI Industrial Workers Y5.8558IMF Tunisia Inflation Avg Cons5.7159South Korea CPI YoY5.6060France CPI 2015=100 YoY5.5561Jordan Monthly Consumer Price5.3962Israel CPI YoY NSA4.5963Malaysia CPI YoY 2010=1004.4864Hong Kong CPI Composite All It4.4065IMF Syria Inflation Avg Consum4.4066Kuwait Consumer Price Index Yo4.1567Bahrain Consumer Price Index Y4.0068Vietnam CPI All Groups Compone3.9469Switzerland CPI All Items YoY3.3070Saudi Arabia Cost of Living3.0771Japan CPI Nationwide YoY3.0072China CPI YoY2.8073IMF Libya Inflation Average Co2.7774Taiwan CPI YoY NSA2.7575United Arab Emirates Consumer2.5076Oman Consumer Price Index YoY2.36(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.