Inflationary pressures are now clearly building in the United States and Europe, but central bankers will be extremely reluctant to raise interest rates for fear of jeopardising their fragile economic recoveries.

Overnight, Marc Faber, author of the GloomBoomDoom report, made headlines when claimed in an interview on CNBC that the US authorities continually lied about the country’s inflation rate. He estimated that inflation in the US was currently running at between 5% and 8%, and between 4% and 5% in Europe.

There was some support for Faber’s argument in the latest ISM report on manufacturing activity in the US, which showed that manufacturers are facing the steepest price rises since July 2008. Almost half of those surveyed said they were paying higher prices, compared with 3% who said they were paying less. The price pressures were also widespread, with prices for 30 commodities rising, while none fell.

Interestingly, there’s no suggestion that these increasing price pressures are being caused by excess demand, with manufacturers outbidding each other to snap up supplies. Indeed, none of the purchasing managers reported that they had any difficulties in securing supplies of commodities.

And figures released overnight show that inflation in the eurozone is also heating up. Industrial producer prices in the eurozone jumped at an annual rate of 5.3%, their fastest pace in more than two years. The main reason for the sharp increase was a surge in energy costs, which were up 11.3% from a year earlier.

The eurozone’s consumer price index increased to 2.4% in December, its highest level in two years. But even though this is above the European Central Bank’s official target of 2%, and even through the bank’s boss, Jean-Claude Trichet, has threatened to raise rates, no one expects that this will happen any time soon.

This is because the eurozone is still struggling with a huge sovereign debt problem, and the ECB will likely be far too worried about the effects of higher interest rates on debt laden eurozone members — such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland — to risk making such a move. As a result, the ECB is likely to keep interest rates at the all-time low level of 1%.

Similarly, in the United States, the US Federal Reserve is not yet half-way through its latest exercise in monetary expansion — the $US600 billion bond buying program, aimed at boosting a lacklustre economic recovery and reducing stubbornly high unemployment levels. This makes it extremely unlikely that the bank will suddenly change tack and start raising interest rates.

With central banks in the United States and the eurozone showing an extreme reluctance to raise rates in response to mounting price pressures, global inflationary pressures will continue to build.

*This first appeared on Business Spectator.