Inflation crisis: Due to various factors including war in Ukraine and Covid-19.

yorksrob

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On the subject of white goods, a lot of washing machines have sealed drums, which effectively makes them un-repairable.
 
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Peter Sarf

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On the subject of white goods, a lot of washing machines have sealed drums, which effectively makes them un-repairable.
Yes. I have encountered that. Think that is something that might get reversed due to popular demand from those who know their stuff.
 

brad465

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Sounds like Jack Monroe has secured a shake-up of the ONS inflation rate in response to her recent campaigning:


Food poverty campaigner and chef Jack Monroe is claiming victory after statistics chiefs pledged to revise how they measure the cost of living.
Ms Monroe had complained that everyday essentials were going up in price by more than the official inflation rate, hitting poorer people hardest.
But she said the official way inflation is calculated failed to reflect this.
On Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics admitted that "one inflation rate doesn't fit all".
"Delighted to be able to tell you that the ONS have just announced that they are going to be changing the way they collect and report on the cost of food prices and inflation to take into consideration a wider range of income levels and household circumstances," Ms Monroe said in a tweet.

The ONS is understood to have been working on a way of broadening its measure of inflation for some time.
In a blog, head of inflation statistics Mike Hardie said: "We are currently developing radical new plans to increase the number of price points dramatically each month from 180,000 to hundreds of millions, using prices sent to us directly from supermarket checkouts.
"This will mean we won't just include one apple in a shop - picked to be representative based on shelf space and market intelligence - but how much every apple costs, and how many of each type were purchased, in many more shops in every area of the country."
 

brad465

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Turns out Andrew Bailey overseeing the FCA during the LCF collapse is not the lowest point in his career:


Workers should not ask for big pay rises, to try and stop prices rising out of control, the Bank of England governor has told the BBC.
Prices are expected to climb faster than pay, putting the biggest squeeze on household finances in decades.
Andrew Bailey said the Bank raised rates to 0.5% from 0.25% to prevent rising prices becoming "ingrained".
Asked if the Bank was also implicitly asking workers not to demand big pay rises, he said: "Broadly, yes".
Inflation is on course to rise above 7% this year, leaving households facing the biggest income squeeze in decades.
Pay increases are not expected to keep pace with rising prices.
Post-tax incomes are forecast to fall 2% this year, after taking into account the rising cost of living.
This represents the biggest fall in living standards since records began in 1990.
Workers are currently enjoying pay rises of just below 5% on average, according to a Bank survey.
However, in sectors with big labour shortages, such as IT, construction and engineering firms have started paying workers "ad-hoc" bonuses in order to keep them.

Mr Bailey said that while it would be "painful" for workers to accept that prices would rise faster than their wages, he added that some "moderation of wage rises" was needed to prevent inflation becoming entrenched.
Mr Bailey said: "In the sense of saying, we do need to see a moderation of wage rises, now that's painful. I don't want to in any sense sugar that, it is painful. But we need to see that in order to get through this problem more quickly."
In the year from 1 March 2020, Mr Bailey was paid £575,538 including pension.
That is more than 18 times higher than the median annual pay for full-time employees of £31,285 for the tax year ending 5 April 2021.
Inflation, as measured by the consumer prices index (CPI), is expected to peak at 7.25% in April, and average close to 6% in 2022.
This would be the fastest price growth since 1991 and is well above the Bank's 2% target.
There are also increasing signs of broader price pressures across the economy.
 

jon0844

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I thought we were all set to enjoy massive pay rises after Brexit.

Late last year, Boris spoke of the huge inflation-busting pay increases some people were getting (in reality, many weren't given pay rises but some one-off incentives to take a job with a particular company - like HGV driving or working in a food processing plant etc).
 

Wynd

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Turns out Andrew Bailey overseeing the FCA during the LCF collapse is not the lowest point in his career:


This is an absolutely disgraceful intervention from the BOE Governor and marks his tenure.

That any of us should not do our utmost to keep up with drastic price rises and do what we can just to stand still in a falling economy smacks of hubris, ignorance and shows how deeply out of touch this Governor is with the reality of so many UK citizens.

This will be my third instance of being told to expect drastically poorer living standards as a UK citizen and frankly I'm not feeling great about enduring ever more going forwards.
 

Dai Corner

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This is an absolutely disgraceful intervention from the BOE Governor and marks his tenure.

That any of us should not do our utmost to keep up with drastic price rises and do what we can just to stand still in a falling economy smacks of hubris, ignorance and shows how deeply out of touch this Governor is with the reality of so many UK citizens.

This will be my third instance of being told to expect drastically poorer living standards as a UK citizen and frankly I'm not feeling great about enduring ever more going forwards.
Why should we expect living standards to be maintained or increased forever, especially when you compare ours in the developed nations with those in the third world?
 

jon0844

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Why should we expect living standards to be maintained or increased forever, especially when you compare ours in the developed nations with those in the third world?

Indeed. Many people seem to relish the race to the bottom, which is why we get so many people who think train drivers are overpaid, council workers should be sacked because their bin wasn't collected, and anyone (except them, obviously) should be happy with whatever they can get.

The stupid thing is that if people all earn less and less, and lose any disposable income, they'll be unable to put as much money back into the economy - so businesses will suffer anyway.
 

yorksrob

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We're fortunate that interest rates are already quite low, however raising them is pointless and counterproductive against inflationary pressures from abroad. We should be encouraging the domestic economy whilst discouraging imports and targeting mortgage inflation specifically, rather than choking the whole economy.
 

Peter Sarf

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We're fortunate that interest rates are already quite low, however raising them is pointless and counterproductive against inflationary pressures from abroad. We should be encouraging the domestic economy whilst discouraging imports and targeting mortgage inflation specifically, rather than choking the whole economy.
I am resigned to a housing market collapse. I feel it is inevitable because interest rates are so low currently. Remember what happened in 1988/89 when Mortgage interest rates went through a rise from roughly 8% to 16%. That made people who could not really afford what they bought panic. Then many who could manage started to panic. If people can panic-buy toilet rolls etc then guess what happens when they cannot afford the roof over their head. Anyone remember "negative equity" ?. Mortgage rates are a lot lower than that now so the only way is up for them !.
 

birchesgreen

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I doubt they'll go up that high again, though getting a fixed rate deal is probably a sound move right now.
 

asw22

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My personal experience is that the housing market is very strong at present. I was looking to get on the housing ladder in March 2020 (before lockdown 1). Since then I've noticed that house prices are up by 20% and tend to sell within one or two weeks of being listed on the market. This combined with a redundancy in August 2021, having to settle for temp work at 20% lower salary and a rental increase of 10% in Jan 2022 have pushed my hopes of getting on the property ladder further away than ever. Cutting down on heating costs by wearing 5 layers of clothes are helping me to reduce fuel costs.

I think that even with interest rates returning back to pre-covid levels and general price increases, that the demand will still exceed supply and prevent a fall in house prices. Home owners are likely to be on 2 or 5 year fixed mortgages so won't have much incentive to sell when the alternatives are dire rental experience, a lack of social housing or homelessness, so other "luxuries" would likely be given up before the house is sold.
 
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Wynd

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A housing market collapse is in my view unlikely.
We saw a roughly 20% correction in 2008, but not a collapse.

Mortgage rules are tighter since 2008 with Bank capital requirements now stress tested against such scenarios of 20% falls in the value of housing.

What could cause a housing crash is widespread unemployment and subsequent mortgage defaults, but at this time we have is a very buoyant labour market.

As for interests rates, in my view, its a storm in a teacup. If UK Debt interest is roughly £50B @ 0.5%, what would it be at 5%, the 300 year historic average interest rate until 2008? Probably more than the NHS budget. Ain't gonna happen.

The fact is the government cannot sustain drastically, say, 3% higher rates than where we are today. In my view that limits BOE scope for intervention to winding back some QE and draining reserves out of the system to try and limit money supply growth. For the sane among us, (il die on this hill, fight me!) money supply growth is of course the only true reason for inflation long term.

Bear in mind the BOE own 1/3 of the Gilt market. 30% of national debt is owed to the UK Gov by the UK Gov.

However, should the BOE/Treasury start to reduce the stock of money, they may well incite a domestic recession, which could create unemployment and get us in to the realms of falling house prices.

Where are we going? Suck it up on higher prices for the medium term,(yup, its incredibly painful and its going to continue to be, many will in truth die trying to heat or eat and I am ashamed by the fact that is happening) inflation will fall back naturally as QE & stimulus is unwound or even curtailed, get the best fixed rate mortgage you can (if you are lucky enough to have a home of your own) safe in the knowledge CB rates are about as likely to go back to 5% as I am to be knighted tomorrow morning, and as ever keep working hard at work etc to keep the income stream alive however you can.

Its the third time in my life so far that living standards have been so drastically squeezed in the UK. You do have to wonder if the grass is greener elsewhere...

I better put the, this is not financial advice disclaimer on this one!
 

The Ham

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A housing market collapse is in my view unlikely.
We saw a roughly 20% correction in 2008, but not a collapse.

Mortgage rules are tighter since 2008 with Bank capital requirements now stress tested against such scenarios of 20% falls in the value of housing.

What could cause a housing crash is widespread unemployment and subsequent mortgage defaults, but at this time we have is a very buoyant labour market.

As for interests rates, in my view, its a storm in a teacup. If UK Debt interest is roughly £50B @ 0.5%, what would it be at 5%, the 300 year historic average interest rate until 2008? Probably more than the NHS budget. Ain't gonna happen.

The fact is the government cannot sustain drastically, say, 3% higher rates than where we are today. In my view that limits BOE scope for intervention to winding back some QE and draining reserves out of the system to try and limit money supply growth. For the sane among us, (il die on this hill, fight me!) money supply growth is of course the only true reason for inflation long term.

Bear in mind the BOE own 1/3 of the Gilt market. 30% of national debt is owed to the UK Gov by the UK Gov.

However, should the BOE/Treasury start to reduce the stock of money, they may well incite a domestic recession, which could create unemployment and get us in to the realms of falling house prices.

Where are we going? Suck it up on higher prices for the medium term,(yup, its incredibly painful and its going to continue to be, many will in truth die trying to heat or eat and I am ashamed by the fact that is happening) inflation will fall back naturally as QE & stimulus is unwound or even curtailed, get the best fixed rate mortgage you can (if you are lucky enough to have a home of your own) safe in the knowledge CB rates are about as likely to go back to 5% as I am to be knighted tomorrow morning, and as ever keep working hard at work etc to keep the income stream alive however you can.

Its the third time in my life so far that living standards have been so drastically squeezed in the UK. You do have to wonder if the grass is greener elsewhere...

I better put the, this is not financial advice disclaimer on this one!

Two thing I would say, assuming that you get some form of pay rise (even if it's not 5%) that the amount that you own relative to your pay would reduce (not that it may feel like it if you are struggling to pay off debts).

The other is that if your interest rate increases (let's say doubles) then the repayments don't increase by the same percentage if you are on a repayment mortgage. That's due to the repayment bit remaining the same.

If it's reasonable to do so (i.e. you've still got a reasonable buffer at the end of the month) it'll probably be worth looking to make small overpayments. An extra £20 for some isn't much, however after 2 years that's an extra £480 (plus interest saving) paid off. The other advantage, if your payments have to go up by (say) £100 at the end of your fixed rate the jump up isn't quite so noticeable and you may even be able to arrange for some of the overpayment to be used to reduce your payments a little as well. The more that is comfortable doing so the better the outcome (for instance a £40/month over payment would reduce the step up to an extra £60/month). However the likes of Martin Lewis would likely day focus on your most expensive (i.e. highest interest rates) debts first.

Obviously that's not possible (even before any of the current increases) for others.

What may be something to consider (again not always viable) is renting out a spare room (as long as below certain thresholds that income can be tax free, Google "rent a room scheme" for details). Whilst it will increase your energy costs it's likely that those extra costs would be fairly limited compared to the income you'll get.

As with all things like this, these are things which maybe useful to consider and are not a recommendation as to what is best for you. As such none of the above should be taken as financial advice.
 

brad465

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A housing market collapse is in my view unlikely.
We saw a roughly 20% correction in 2008, but not a collapse.

Mortgage rules are tighter since 2008 with Bank capital requirements now stress tested against such scenarios of 20% falls in the value of housing.

What could cause a housing crash is widespread unemployment and subsequent mortgage defaults, but at this time we have is a very buoyant labour market.

As for interests rates, in my view, its a storm in a teacup. If UK Debt interest is roughly £50B @ 0.5%, what would it be at 5%, the 300 year historic average interest rate until 2008? Probably more than the NHS budget. Ain't gonna happen.

The fact is the government cannot sustain drastically, say, 3% higher rates than where we are today. In my view that limits BOE scope for intervention to winding back some QE and draining reserves out of the system to try and limit money supply growth. For the sane among us, (il die on this hill, fight me!) money supply growth is of course the only true reason for inflation long term.

Bear in mind the BOE own 1/3 of the Gilt market. 30% of national debt is owed to the UK Gov by the UK Gov.

However, should the BOE/Treasury start to reduce the stock of money, they may well incite a domestic recession, which could create unemployment and get us in to the realms of falling house prices.

Where are we going? Suck it up on higher prices for the medium term,(yup, its incredibly painful and its going to continue to be, many will in truth die trying to heat or eat and I am ashamed by the fact that is happening) inflation will fall back naturally as QE & stimulus is unwound or even curtailed, get the best fixed rate mortgage you can (if you are lucky enough to have a home of your own) safe in the knowledge CB rates are about as likely to go back to 5% as I am to be knighted tomorrow morning, and as ever keep working hard at work etc to keep the income stream alive however you can.

Its the third time in my life so far that living standards have been so drastically squeezed in the UK. You do have to wonder if the grass is greener elsewhere...

I better put the, this is not financial advice disclaimer on this one!
In short, neoliberalism is dead in all but name and we need a level of reform akin to what FDR brought about to move on in a more sustainable way than just keeping a broken system on life support.
 

yorksrob

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Ultimately the country needs to become more self-reliant and less susceptible to external shocks. Energy is key to this of course.
 

Wynd

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Even if we are more self reliant, it doesn't negate all imported inflation.

Oil is priced on Nymex with prices set daily.
Similar story with commodities. Priced globally daily.

We would need to get in to a position where we were 65+% self reliant on food and energy to be in with a hope of reducing imported inflation. Even then we need to control the input costs too, which is difficult given how reliant we are now on imports.

But again, this is getting away from the fact that inflation is a product of Money supply growth.
 

yorksrob

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Even if we are more self reliant, it doesn't negate all imported inflation.

Oil is priced on Nymex with prices set daily.
Similar story with commodities. Priced globally daily.

We would need to get in to a position where we were 65+% self reliant on food and energy to be in with a hope of reducing imported inflation. Even then we need to control the input costs too, which is difficult given how reliant we are now on imports.

But again, this is getting away from the fact that inflation is a product of Money supply growth.

Yes, there's never a complete black and white solution, but we need to be more self-sufficient. It's not just inflation, we're more exposed to recession shocks as well
 

Snow1964

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Today it has been announced that inflation (CPI) has jumped to 7%
up from 6.2% in previous month February
CPI is consumer price inflation

highest for 30 years, and expected to be nearer 8.5% in April as effects of revised energy price cap kick in)

The retail price index (RPI) is 9% more than a year ago
 
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jon0844

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At this rate, mobile phone users (on many plans) are going to see increases of well over 10% next year - another 'hidden' impact to consumers. Those lucky enough to be on older plans may well find themselves being taken off them and moved over to one that has the new CPI+3.9% rate.
 

Starmill

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At this rate, mobile phone users (on many plans) are going to see increases of well over 10% next year - another 'hidden' impact to consumers. Those lucky enough to be on older plans may well find themselves being taken off them and moved over to one that has the new CPI+3.9% rate.
Another good reason to try to find a fixed price contract for phone and broadband. These don't seem to be too difficult to come by, though I accept that they may be rarer than in the past.
 

WelshBluebird

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Another good reason to try to find a fixed price contract for phone and broadband. These don't seem to be too difficult to come by, though I accept that they may be rarer than in the past.
Most "fixed price" contracts now have a clause that lets them put the price up every year, often by CPI plus something, which is what the poster you replied to was talking about though.
 

Starmill

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Most "fixed price" contracts now have a clause that lets them put the price up every year, often by CPI plus something, which is what the poster you replied to was talking about though.
Ah well, fair enough then. I've never taken one out that lasted for longer than a year anyway.
 

jon0844

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Another good reason to try to find a fixed price contract for phone and broadband. These don't seem to be too difficult to come by, though I accept that they may be rarer than in the past.

Most now have CPI+3.9% clearly included in the T&Cs - and what's more, if you sign up for a package/deal in March, you'll get hit with the increase in April! In the past, the increase only came after a year (or the minimum term of your contract).

I am stunned* that Ofcom allowed this. Not only does it mean a price advertised in store may only apply for a matter of days, but while I get the RPI or CPI increase bit - who the hell thought it okay to allow networks to add 3.9% on top also? Inflationary increases are obvious enough, but the 3.9% is just profiteering.

Ah well, fair enough then. I've never taken one out that lasted for longer than a year anyway.

But they can apply the increase within a year too! (See my above explanation)

* Sarcasm; Ofcom are as useless as Ofgem has turned out to be. Worse still, Ofcom are consulting on even more damaging changes that will impact consumers on mobile and home broadband plans... something that they weren't allowed to do as EU members (net neutrality).
 

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I guess it explains why a small number of mobile and broadband providers now advertise "no price increases during your contract" as a selling point, but as I say I get that it's a limited field.

I'm out of contract with mine and have been waiting for a very long time now for them to roll me onto one of the new more expensive plans but as yet my bills are just being issued at my old monthly rate.
 

jon0844

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I guess it explains why a small number of mobile and broadband providers now advertise "no price increases during your contract" as a selling point, but as I say I get that it's a limited field.

I'm out of contract with mine and have been waiting for a very long time now for them to roll me onto one of the new more expensive plans but as yet my bills are just being issued at my old monthly rate.

Stick with it as long as you can, but bear in mind that Three and now EE (possibly others) are starting to write to some customers to say their legacy plan is being terminated. You either disconnect or accept the new terms automatically within 30 days, and forget about loyalty discounts or other offers - Three was going to double my monthly bill and add more restrictions.

Again, Ofcom didn't bat an eyelid over this because the network is allowing you to leave if you don't like it (the irony being that you don't want to leave as you're happy with the contract you're on). I guess most people just accept as they are too lazy to phone up and cancel/shop around, or maybe even don't even open the letter as they think it is junk.
 

ABB125

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Ofcom are as useless as Ofgem has turned out to be. Worse still, Ofcom are consulting on even more damaging changes that will impact consumers on mobile and home broadband plans... something that they weren't allowed to do as EU members (net neutrality).
Out of interest, what's this?
 

jon0844

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Out of interest, what's this?
The ability to throttle or charge more for specific types of data or services, which could mean ISPs charging Netflix and others to carry their data, or for you to have to pay more to use your mobile data with another device (tethering) and so on.

The EU banned this, and of course how we may go back to restrictions that existed before they did so.

Joe Public likely won't know or care, until it's too late.
 

brad465

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Andrew Bailey was grilled by the Treasury Select Committee, and used the word "apocalyptic" to warn about food price rises:


The possibility of more rises in food prices is a "major worry" for the UK and other countries, the Bank of England governor has warned.
Apologising for sounding "apocalyptic", Andrew Bailey said the war in Ukraine was affecting food supplies.
Mr Bailey also defended the Bank's performance following criticism it has not done enough to try to rein in rising prices.
Inflation - the rate at which prices rise - is at a 30-year high.
Mr Bailey warned that that a "very big income shock" from the increase in global goods prices would hit demand in the economy and push up unemployment.
He also said that difficulties shipping out food supplies from Ukraine could hit world supplies of wheat and cooking oil.
World wheat prices have risen 25% over the past six weeks.

"There's a lot of uncertainty around this situation," Mr Bailey said.
"And that is a major, major worry and it's not just I have to tell you a major worry for this country. There's a major worry for the developing world as well. And so if I had to sort of, sorry for being apocalyptic for a moment, but that is a major concern."
Mr Bailey warned that price rises in food and energy would have a much bigger effect than any rise in interest rates.

With the government coming under intense pressure over the cost of living crisis, there have been reports that some Cabinet ministers are unhappy with the Bank's performance and have questioned whether it should keep its independence.
Inflation hit 7% in March, and figures due out later this week are expected to show the rate climbed higher in April.
The Bank has warned inflation could hit 10% by the autumn, well above its 2% target.
Appearing before the Treasury Select Committee, its chairman - Conservative MP Mel Stride - put to Mr Bailey the criticism that the Bank had been "asleep at the wheel".
In response, Mr Bailey emphasised that he was not happy about the high rate of inflation, adding: "This is a bad situation to be in."
But he insisted that most of the above-target inflation was due to global prices not domestic factors.
"80% of the overshoots over the target... is due to energy and tradable goods," he said.
Asked whether he has felt helpless given the situation, Mr Bailey admitted he had.
"It's a very, very difficult place for us to be in," he said.
But he defended himself against questions over whether he could have done things differently, saying: "I don't think we could. I don't think we could foresee a war in Ukraine."
He pointed to a further wave of Covid, particularly in China, as another factor putting pressure on prices.
On the question of the Bank's independence, Mr Bailey said it was something he was "always" concerned about ensuring.
"This is the biggest test of the monetary policy framework that we have had in 25 years, no question about that," he said.
"What I would say to these people is that this is when both the independence of the Bank and the target framework and the nominal anchor matter more than ever, frankly. More than in the good times, the easy times as it were."
 

yorksrob

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Indeed. Quite how MP's and other commentators expect rises in interest rates to take inflation caused by riding costs of imports is anyone's guess.

The best thing that government could do is to use what levers it has to promote domestic spending that's less reliant on imports.
 

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