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Is global inflation about to take off?

Analyst views are divided, with price pressures uneven across sectors

Factories around the world are facing headwinds from surging commodity prices, rising shipping costs and semiconductor shortages, fueling worries that global inflationary pressures are looming as big economies recover from pandemic lockdowns.

Copper, the economic bellwether metal, soared 80% over the past year to a record high, leading a rally that has driven raw materials ranging from lumber to iron ore to multiyear peaks. On May 6, the New York-based Commodity Research Bureau Index, which measures the aggregate price direction of various commodities, rose to its highest level since September 2011, up 55% versus March 2020. Meanwhile, a global food price index issued by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization climbed for 10 consecutive months, reaching a record in March.

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