| 6.4°C Dublin

Central bankers warn recovery will boost 'inflation threats'


ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet. Photo: Getty Images

ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet. Photo: Getty Images

ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet. Photo: Getty Images

European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet said the global economy has recovered better than expected, boosting inflation pressures in emerging markets.

"Inflationary threats present some kind of general feature in the emerging world; it's something you don't see necessarily in advanced economies," Mr Trichet said yesterday at a briefing in Basel, Switzerland, after chairing the Global Economy Meeting.

"It's clear that it is extremely important that we all keep control of inflation expectations, and that calls for appropriate decisions."

Global rate setters are growing more concerned about inflation threats as the world economy gathers strength and surging food and oil prices fuel price gains. Mr Trichet said growth was stronger in emerging economies, though euro-area data had also been better than expected.

"Since the start of the recovery, we were observing results in terms of facts and figures, in terms of real economic evolution, that were better than forecast," Mr Trichet said. "I would say that it's also the case until now in the euro area."

John Lipsky, the International Monetary Fund's first deputy managing director, said that this year would be "pivotal" for the global recovery.

The outlook for the world economy, while "promising," was still "clouded" by risks of more turmoil in sovereign debt markets, failure to reduce unemployment in some advanced economies and overheating in some developing countries, Mr Lipsky added.

IMF forecasts

The Washington-based institution forecasts growth in the world economy will slow to 4.2pc from 4.8pc in 2010.

While advanced economies will expand 2.2pc, developing nations will grow 6.4pc this year, driven by strong expansion in China, which last year overtook Japan as the world's second-largest economy.

Speculation that central banks from China to India and Indonesia will raise rates to curb inflation drove Asian stocks lower yesterday. Emerging-market stocks fell the most in a month, with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index declining as much as 1.2pc.

Food-price inflation in Asian countries excluding Japan in November was at its highest level in the past decade except for the 2007-2008 period, according to Credit Suisse.

"The reasons that are behind the food price increases were considered important" at yesterday's meeting, Mr Trichet said. "It's an element of the possible threat to inflation," he added.

"There is a unity of purpose at the level of the global economy meeting . . . that we have to deliver price stability and need to be credible in this delivery."

In the euro area, inflation accelerated to 2.2pc in December, exceeding the ECB's 2pc limit for the first time in more than two years. Economists forecast the bank will raise its key interest rate from 1pc in the fourth quarter of this year, a Bloomberg survey shows. Mr Trichet declined to speak in his role as ECB president.

He met in Basel with his counterparts from the world's largest central banks. The meeting is held every two months under the auspices of the Bank for International Settlements, which oversees central banks.

Irish Independent