Innovation is causing deflation. Don't fight it

Three great disinflationary forces are ripping into prices. The question is, are they benign or dangerous?

Last night crude oil fell below $US75 a barrel again. Tomorrow, OPEC meets to try to do something about it and, even if they agree to cut production (a big if), it's unlikely to make much difference.

The 30 per cent collapse in the oil price over the past few months is the most significant economic event since the 2008 credit crisis. It's leading directly and indirectly to declines in all commodity prices and adding to a new wave of global disinflation that has the world's central banking firefighters once again sliding down their poles and clambering into monetary policy fire trucks.

A structural change in the oil market this year has added to the accelerating impact of industry disruption as well as automation and robotic technology to bring inflation down everywhere. More than a dozen OECD countries now have falling prices, half of them have inflation of less than 1 per cent and falling.

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