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Macaskill on markets: The great inflation guessing game

Is the best inflation hedge the asset you just bought? There is more at stake as prices rise than talking your own book.

Shopping for Bitcoin

The debate over the onset of inflation may be over, but the game of guessing its impact on markets is only just under way.

It remains possible that upward pressure in some prices will prove to be transitory, as central bankers led by Federal Reserve officials successfully argued when quelling a bout of market concern about inflation earlier this year.

But evidence of inflation in key measures across major economies is now irrefutable and the focus is shifting to hedging against the effect of price rises on markets and businesses. Evangelists for assets that supposedly offer a hedge against inflation have been quick to stress the virtues of their own holdings.

Gold has traditionally been extolled by its holders as the ultimate inflation hedge and its recent weakness against a backdrop of rising consumer and producer prices has not diminished this enthusiasm.

Evidence of inflation in key measures across major economies is now irrefutable and the focus is shifting to hedging against the effect of price rises

Bitcoin is also touted as an inflation hedge, with a growing number of market veterans joining cryptocurrency specialists in talking up its virtues.

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