Last year, the world’s economy went through some really tough times because things got more expensive. In the United States, their central bank, the Federal Reserve, increased interest rates at every meeting for the past year to control rising prices. They raised their main rate to over 5 percent in their latest meeting. Some people argue that these moves might be making companies even richer.
In the United States, the amount of money companies make has been going up a lot. In the second quarter of 2020, they made about $2001.5 billion. But in the second quarter of 2022, it shot up to a record $3001.3 billion because the cost of things like services and goods went really high. Even though the Federal Reserve raised rates, prices are still going up at around 4.9 percent, which is quite high. Just last June, inflation was as high as 9.1 percent.
It’s interesting to see that in April 2020, the U.S. had very low inflation at 0.3 percent. It stayed below 2 percent until February 2021 when things were getting back to normal after the lockdowns.
Despite central banks around the world raising interest rates to control inflation and get things back to normal after the pandemic, many people are still struggling with the rising cost of living, especially in the United Kingdom. In fact, prices in the UK went up at the fastest rate in 45 years. UK leaders are asking people to be careful with how much they ask for in wages to try and control inflation. But it’s still not clear if higher wages actually make prices go up even more.
It’s been reported that in many parts of the world, wages are not going up as fast as prices. According to a European Central Bank blog post, profits from businesses used to make up about one-third of the rise in prices from 1999 to 2022. But in 2022, they were responsible for about two-thirds of the price increase.
The war in Europe, which has been going on for more than a year now, has also caused problems. Some countries relied on getting things from Russia and Ukraine, but because of the war, they couldn’t do that. This led to less supply, and when there’s less of something, it gets more expensive. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that this war would hurt the world economy, causing slow growth and high prices. Also, Russia stopped giving gas to some European countries because of sanctions, so they had to find other sources, like Qatar, to get gas. All of these problems have made it hard for the economy to recover from the slowdown caused by the pandemic.