Economy’s ‘first responders’ now in the line of fire

Forceful but late interventions to combat inflation raise the risk of central bank overreactions

Just over two years ago, central banks across much of the world were fêted as the economy’s ‘first responders’ for their rapid efforts to address risks associated with Covid-19 lockdowns. Interest rates were slashed, asset purchase schemes rolled out and forward guidance offered. Vast liquidity commitments were made to financial market intermediaries and regulatory forbearance became commonplace.

The moves were reminiscent of responses to the global financial crisis. But they were quicker, more

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