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Credit…Haiyun Jiang/The Recent York TimesJeanna Smialek

SINTRA, Portugal — Three of the world’s top central bankers set out a grim prediction on Wednesday: The forces that weighed down inflation for a long time before the onset of the pandemic may never return, forcing policymakers to maintain up efforts to chill down their economies in a bid to get rapid price increases back under control.

“Because the pandemic, we’ve been living in a world where the economy is being driven by very different forces,” Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said on Wednesday, speaking on a panel alongside the heads of the European Central Bank and the Bank of England in Sintra, Portugal. Before, forces like young demographics and globalization helped to maintain production low cost and price increases slow.

“What we don’t know is whether or not we will probably be going back to something that appears more like, or slightly bit like, what we had before,” Mr. Powell said. “We suspect that it would be form of a mix.”

Christine Lagarde, Mr. Powell’s counterpart in Europe, gave a fair blunter assessment, saying the low-inflation era that prevailed before 2020 is unlikely to return.

“There are forces which were unleashed in consequence of the pandemic, in consequence of this massive geopolitical shock that we face now, which can be going to vary the image and the landscape inside which we operate in,” Ms. Lagarde said, referring to the war in Ukraine, which has sent commodity prices sharply higher.

Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, agreed that this was a recent period of price increases that policymakers needed to thrust back against.

Their comments underscored the challenge confronting central bankers as inflation surges across many developed economies. A few of the recent pickup has been driven by strong domestic demand within the countries including the US, where apartment rents are increasing sharply, hotel room rates are way up and a wide range of services have grown costlier. But shared and unpredictable shocks to provide — including factory shutdowns, shipping snarls, and rising food and fuel costs spurred by the war in Ukraine — are driving a giant portion of price increases all over the world.

That makes this moment a difficult one for central bankers to navigate. Their tools primarily generate income costlier to borrow, which weighs on demand by making people and businesses less inclined to spend. But they will do little to affect supply.

Even so, officials all over the world are deciding that they will now not wait for shortages to clear up. Central bankers all over the world are raising rates of interest to attempt to slow demand to a degree where it’s more according to today’s limited supply of products and services.

It just isn’t clear when normality will return or what it would appear to be as firms and countries discuss bringing factories closer to home in a turn away from globalization, which had been holding prices down by containing labor and production costs. And critically, rapid price increases threaten to vary consumer inflation expectations as they last into their second yr. If outlooks about price increases shift, it could make inflation a more everlasting feature of the economy by causing households and businesses to approach wage negotiations, spending and pricing decisions in another way.

“The chance is that due to a multiplicity of shocks, you begin to transition to a higher-inflation regime,” Mr. Powell said. “Our job is literally to stop that from happening. And we are going to prevent that from happening.”

As inflation runs on the fastest pace in 4 a long time in the US, Fed policymakers have been raising rates of interest quickly to attempt to get it under control, including a big increase of three-quarters of a degree in June. Central bankers have indicated that they need to lift rates well above 3 percent, compared with their current 1.5 to 1.75 percent range, by the tip of the yr.

“The aim of that’s to slow growth down so that provide can have a likelihood to catch up,” Mr. Powell said Wednesday. “It’s a needed adjustment that should occur.”

The E.C.B. plans to lift rates for the primary time in greater than a decade at its meeting in July, and Ms. Lagarde has signaled that when the E.C.B. raises rates rise again in September, it’s more likely to be a fair greater increase. This week, she has sent a message that the chance of persistently high inflation outweighs a slowing economic growth outlook within the eurozone.

The Bank of England, which began raising rates in December, has tried to walk a “narrow path” between arresting inflation, which was at a 40-year high of 9.1 percent in May, and concerns concerning the economy stagnating as living costs including food and fuel prices rise.

But amid signs that wages are rising more quickly than usual in Britain and more goods and services are recording above-average price increases, the Bank of England has opened the door to a more aggressive policy response.

“If we see greater persistence of inflation, that’s second round effects, then we are going to act forcefully,” Mr. Bailey said on Wednesday.

The eurozone and Britain have each experienced particularly large energy price shocks, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As energy prices remain high and the war pushes up global food prices, central bankers in Europe are wary of so-called second-round inflation generated by domestic firms setting higher prices, especially within the services sector, and faster wage growth.

As central bankers all over the world pull back support, the worldwide economy appears to be hurtling toward a marked slowdown. The Bank for International Settlements warned this week in its annual report that there was a risk of “a stagflationary hard landing” if high inflation lingers, central banks choke off growth and financial markets and indebted firms come under stress.

It just isn’t just international bodies which can be concerned.

While the Fed is attempting to cool down the American economy without plunging it right into a recession, Mr. Powell acknowledged on Wednesday that the central bank’s efforts to decelerate consumer and business demand to chill off inflation were “highly more likely to involve some pain.”

The chance of a serious downturn has grown more acute because the war in Ukraine keeps commodity prices elevated, ramping up the possibilities that central bankers could have to stanch growth more drastically to permit constrained supply to catch up and costs to ease.

“It’s gotten harder, the pathways have gotten narrower,” Mr. Powell said of a so-called soft landing. “Nevertheless, that’s our aim.”

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