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Biden says US inflation rate is lowest among leading economies. Is that true?

PolitiFact | In July, the U.S. passed Canada for the lowest inflation rate among the G-7 countries.
 
President Joe Biden speaks about the August jobs report in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, in Washington.
President Joe Biden speaks about the August jobs report in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, in Washington. [ JACQUELYN MARTIN | AP ]
Published Sept. 3, 2023

High inflation rates have bedeviled Joe Biden during much of his presidency. But in recent remarks, Biden expressed optimism that the U.S. has turned a corner in its effort to fight fast-rising prices.

“While we have more to do, inflation is down by two-thirds,” Biden said during an Aug. 29 speech about lowering health care costs. “Inflation is now down close to 3%, the lowest among the world’s leading economies.”

We’ve previously reported that parts of that statement are correct: Inflation is down by about two-thirds from its peak in summer 2022, and it currently measures just over 3% compared with prices one year earlier.

But does the U.S. have the lowest inflation rate among the world’s leading economies?

When we last addressed how the U.S. ranks internationally in inflation — in June 2022, at the height of U.S. inflation — we found that although inflation rose above pre-COVID-19 levels in every major economy around the world, inflation in the United States spiked higher than its most direct competitors.

Now, though, the United States is beating its competitors in lowering inflation. The U.S. has a lower inflation rate than any other member of the G-7 group of large economies. And among a broader group of advanced industrialized nations, only a few countries beat the United States’ inflation rate.

First, let’s look at the members of the G-7 — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. (Current data is not available for Japan, so we’ll set it aside.)

For the first half of 2022, the U.S. had the highest inflation rate of any G-7 country. But in the most recent data, covering July 2023, that has reversed: The U.S. now has the lowest inflation of any G-7 country.

From February 2023 to June 2023, the U.S. was a close second to Canada for the G-7′s lowest inflation rate. Then, in July 2023, the United States edged slightly lower than Canada, sealing its lowest-in-the-G-7 status.

In July 2023, the United States’ 3.2% rate was better than Canada’s 3.3%, France’s 4.3%, Italy’s 5.9%, and Germany’s 6.2%, and it was half of the United Kingdom’s 6.4% rate.

The White House pointed PolitiFact to slightly different data compiled by its own Council of Economic Advisers that sought to iron out methodological differences in how different countries calculate inflation. But the conclusion aligned with our findings: After tracking higher than the other G-7 nations in early 2022, inflation in the U.S. now rests at the bottom of the G-7.

If you expand the field of economic rivals, the U.S. inflation rate continues to fare better.

The U.S. inflation rate is below the average for the G-20, a group of 20 nations with large economies. For June 2023, the most recent data available, the average inflation rate for G-20 nations was 5.5%.

The same holds if you look at members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes most European nations and selected large economies from the Americas, Asia and elsewhere.

Beyond the G-7 nations, the U.S. also boasts a lower inflation rate than such countries as Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Only a few countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported inflation rates lower than the United States’, including Denmark, Greece, Portugal, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland.

Our ruling

Biden said that current U.S. inflation is “the lowest among the world’s leading economies.”

Starting in July 2023, the U.S. passed Canada for the lowest inflation among the G-7 countries.

Looking at the most recent data for a larger grouping of 30-plus large economies, the U.S. has one of the lowest inflation rates, but a few countries — Denmark, Greece, Portugal, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland — have lower inflation than the U.S. does.

We rate the statement Mostly True.