On a spending spree

The rich world’s economies are recovering rapidly from the covid-19 slump. Europe is perking up enough to cause predictable worries in Germany about high inflation. (As in America, they look overdone.) Companies’ capital spending is surging. In America it is rising at an annual rate of 15%. Worldwide, say economists at Morgan Stanley, by the end of next year investment could be one-fifth higher than it was before the pandemic. Among the big spenders are tech companies, spurred by the rise of remote working, and retailers, striving to match online rivals and to keep up with a post-lockdown leap in consumer spending. The capex boom makes a welcome change from the old normal: for years, stingy investment contributed to sluggish productivity and growth.