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The world map of inflation

Where is inflation the highest?

FRED offers a wealth of global indicators from the World Bank. Today, we’re looking at inflation data. The map shows consumer price inflation across the world in 2015. (2016 numbers are still incomplete.) The two darkest colors indicate particularly high inflation rates: For the 2015 map, these rates are above 6%. Rates this high typically occur in countries where the central bank’s primary mandate is not to provide an environment with stable prices, but rather to support the government through monetization of the public debt or by providing cash for its expenses. Those countries that do not report numbers are either too small to compute the data, have a particularly weak government, or are trying to hide such statistics.

The lighter colors show lower inflation—or even deflation. Of particular interest are the middle-level blue-colored countries. Their inflation rates are between 1 and 3 percent, which is the range typically thought of as the rate that should be achieved. The idea is that you want some inflation to allow for adjustment in economies where prices or wages have some downward rigidity: If firms and other economic actors are not inclined to decrease their prices and wages, but a decrease is necessary to balance demand and supply, then a little inflation can help. Of course, if overall prices decrease, this logic becomes quite problematic, which is the case in the white-colored countries.

How this map was created: The original post referenced an interactive map from our now discontinued GeoFRED site. The revised post provides a replacement map from FRED’s new mapping tool. To create FRED maps, go to the data series page in question and look for the green “VIEW MAP” button at the top right of the graph. See this post for instructions to edit a FRED map. Only series with a green map button can be mapped.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

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