The ongoing global economic slowdown, aggressive monetary policy by central banks, the Ukraine-Russia conflict, and the ongoing demand-supply issue are all common factors that economists would associate with rising inflation in many countries. But, in Sweden’s case, economists at a central bank have also blamed American singer Beyonce for higher-than-expected inflation.
Michael Grahn, an economist at Danske Bank, said the start of Beyonce’s Renaissance World Tour in Stockholm may have colored May’s inflation data. He argued the concerts “probably” accounted for some of the 0.3 percentage points that restaurant and hotel prices added to the monthly increase in inflation.
Thousands of fans flocked to the Swedish capital for the kickoff of Queen B’s first solo tour in seven years. That, in turn, likely contributed to a surge in tourism and subsequent price increases for restaurants and hotels. The result: a bigger-than-expected 0.3 percentage point boost in recreation and culture prices that pushed overall inflation to 9.7 percent last month.
Beyonce’s tour, whose first leg kicked off in Stockholm on May 10 with two nights at the 50,000-capacity Friends Arena, is expected to bring the singer more than $1.5 billion in ticket sales and merchandise revenue. The weak krona will also make it cheaper for international fans to purchase tickets, so the singer chose Stockholm as the launch city.
Inflation has been persistently high in Europe – and worldwide – despite many governments cutting interest rates to near zero to combat an economic downturn worse than the Great Recession. In the United States, the Fed’s Ben Bernanke is widely credited with pulling the country back from collapse by slashing interest rates, supporting financial institutions on the verge of bankruptcy, and pumping dollars into the economy to bolster liquidity and lending. The economic recovery that followed his two terms, which spanned the 2008 and 2014 financial crises, was more robust than the one that followed the Great Recession.
Inflation is likely to continue at a rapid pace in the near term as many economies struggle with global supply chains that are still snarled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing Ukraine-Russia conflict, which has exacerbated concerns about shortages of everything from microchips to food and energy. Business operations experts explained three related issues contributing to a world of shortages. Watch the video below from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.