Fact Check: WH Falsely Claims Ukraine War ‘Biggest Single Driver of Inflation’

joe biden and russia
iStock, Tom Brenner/Getty Images, BNN

Claim: Putin’s war against Ukraine is the biggest driver of inflation, the White House said Monday.

Verdict: False.

Inflation was high and rising long before the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine.  The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.6 percent in May of 2021 after rising 0.8 percent in April., On an annual basis, prices were up 5.0 percent, the largest 12-month increase since a 5.4-percent increase for the period ending August 2008.

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, was 3.8 percent over the previous 12 months, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1992.

The war in Ukraine and the global reaction, including sanctions and boycotts of Russian energy, have likely contributed to higher oil prices. Although, with China shifting its purchases toward Russia and away from Saudi Arabia, the effect has been somewhat blunted on global markets.

The biggest factor in the rise of energy prices has been increased global demand and a lack of capital investment. The latter was caused, in part, by ESG investing, Biden’s promise to end fossil fuels, and regulators discouraging fossil fuel production.

Yet inflation is still very high even with energy excluded. Absent energy, the CPI is up 6.6 percent year over year and rose 0.7 percent in May from April. This demonstrates that Putin has very little to do with the bulk of U.S. inflation.

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