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Takeaway: We don’t see hyperinflation as imminent, but historical context is telling.

Below we’ve highlighted the tables from a recent academic paper from the Cato Institute that outlines examples of hyperinflation that have occurred over the past couple of centuries.  The paper was written by Professor Steve Hanke from Johns Hopkins.  He found 56 examples of hyperinflation. 

In the paper, hyperinflation is defined as a price-level increase of at least 50% per month.  The most extreme case of hyperinflation on record was in Hungary in 1946.  In July of that year, Hungary had a monthly inflation rate of 4.19 x 10^6.  (As far as we know, Chairman Bernanke was still in diapers then!)

Even as we’ve been sounding the inflation risk horn due to the aggressive monetary easing that is occurring around the globe, we certainly aren’t predicting prices to increase at more than 50% per month.  But as Mark Twain famously said:

“History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

Indeed.

Daryl G. Jones

Director of Research

Hyperinflation ! - 1

Hyperinflation ! - 2

Hyperinflation ! - 3