The financial risks posed by inflation
Fecha: julio 2022
Santiago Carbó Valverde and Francisco Rodríguez Fernández
Major monetary policy decisions were taken in June to curb rising inflation, which increasingly exhibits considerable structural traits. While central banks are acting, they acknowledge that if the exogenous supply factors contributing to high inflation persist, more aggressive measures would be needed. Central bank action also appears to be more aggressive than initially contemplated in response to rising market expectations. The timing of interest rate hikes should be cautious, due to possible impacts on consumers and businesses, especially if the economy and labour market were to deteriorate. To the extent that inflation remains at elevated levels (even less than present), the real interest rate will remain clearly negative. One of the markets most exposed to the rate environment is the property market and, relatedly, the mortgage market, albeit the impact in Spain is expected to be moderate. In Spain, new home prices increased at 10.1% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022, with resale house prices not far behind, at 8.2%. Concurrently, home mortgages have been growing at around 1.2% year-on-year in recent months. Despite the sources of concern and uncertainty, business lending has been growing at a rate of 1% to 1.7% year-on-year from January to April 2022, but risks are rising. One such risk is a higher-than-expected increase in borrowing costs, especially if the sovereign risk premium rises, which would have significant knock-on effects for private sector financing.