Der Sturm vor der Ruhe

OXFORD – Die Zentralbanken können aufhören, sich Sorgen um die Inflation zu machen. Kurzfristig ist eine Preisdeflation viel wahrscheinlicher. Allerdings muss eine zeitweilige Deflation nicht unbedingt jenen Schrecken verbreiten, den die Zentralbanker fürchten, zumindest nicht, wenn das Banksystem rekapitalisiert ist und die Zinssätze in den Industrieländern stark fallen.

Erst im September und Oktober stuften die amerikanische Federal Reserve und die Europäische Zentralbank das Inflationsrisiko als etwa gleich hoch wie das Wachstumsrisiko ein. Beide Zentralbanken zögerten, die Zinssätze spürbar zu senken. Auf den Finanzmärkten könnte man die Inflationserwartungen der Fed als repräsentativ für die Annahmen anderer Zentralbanken gesehen haben. Dieser Eindruck verstärkte sich durch die am 2. Oktober erfolgte überraschende Entscheidung der EZB, die Zinssätze unverändert zu lassen.

Im Oktober befanden sich die USA hinsichtlich der Inflation an der Schwelle des bedeutsamsten Wendepunktes der letzten 20 Jahre. Natürlich sind Inflationsprognosen bekanntermaßen schwierig. In der Weltwirtschaft gab es ebenso große strukturelle Veränderungen (beispielsweise die Handels- und Finanzliberalisierung) wie in einzelnen Ökonomien (etwa den Niedergang der Gewerkschaften). In der Geldpolitik hat man das Augenmerk verstärkt auf die Inflation verlagert.

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