“Make no mistake, this is the start of something big, something ugly.” City economist Albert Edwards rarely minces his words, but his reaction to China’s devaluation, which sent shockwaves through global markets, underlined how powerfully Beijing’s move may be felt thousands of miles away.
Edwards, of the bank Société Générale, argues that as well as creating a challenge for China’s Asian rivals, by making its exports more competitive, a cheaper yuan will send “a tidal wave of deflation” breaking over the world economy.
Central banks in the US and the UK have primed investors for interest rate rises, with the Bank of England Mark Carney pointing to the turn of the year for a move, and Janet Yellen, at the Federal Reserve, signalling that a tightening could start as soon as September.
Edwards argues that instead of pushing up rates, central banks in the west should be preparing themselves to ward off a deflationary slump.
In the period running up to the financial crisis of 2008, which became known as the “Great Moderation”, inflation in the west was kept under control by the influx of cheap commodities and consumer goods from China and other low-wage economies.
via The Guardian