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Written by Diana Thebaud Nicholson // April 8, 2008 // Asia, Economy, Inflation // Comments Off on Asian Inflation
April 8 2008
Asian Inflation Begins to Sting U.S. Shoppers
By KEITH BRADSHER
(NYT) BAT TRANG, Vietnam — For two generations, Americans have imported goods produced ever more cheaply from a succession of low-wage countries — first Japan and Korea, then China, and now increasingly places like Vietnam and India.
But mounting inflation in the developing world, especially Asia, is threatening that arrangement, and not just in China, where rising energy and labor costs have already made exports to the United States more expensive, but in the lower-cost alternatives to China, too.
It is also a threat to Western consumers because Asian exporters, even in very poor countries, are passing their rising costs on to customers.
Developing countries have had bouts of inflation before. Indeed, some are famous for them, like Brazil, which experienced triple-digit inflation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But two things make this time different, and together promise to send prices higher at Wal-Mart and supermarkets alike in the United States, just as the possibility of recession looms.
First, developing countries now produce nearly half of all American imports. Second, inflation in these countries is coming at the same time that many of their currencies are rising against the dollar.