16 Nobel Prize-winning economists say Trump policies will fuel inflation

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Trump's campaign event in Philadelphia

By Tim Reid

(Reuters) - Sixteen Nobel prize-winning economists signed a letter on Tuesday warning that the U.S. and world economy will suffer if Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidential election in November.

The jointly signed letter, first reported by Axios, says the economic agenda of U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, is "vastly superior" to Trump's, the former Republican president seeking a second term.

The economists say Trump's economic plans would reignite inflation, in part because of his pledge to impose stiffer tariffs on Chinese imports, which they say will hike prices on many goods bought by U.S. consumers.

"While each of us has different views on the particulars of various economic policies, we all agree that Joe Biden's economic agenda is vastly superior to Donald Trump," the economists state in their letter.

"We believe that a second Trump term would have a negative impact on the U.S.'s economic standing in the world, and a destabilizing effect on the U.S.'s domestic economy."

The letter was signed by prominent economists including Joseph Stiglitz, who won the Nobel prize for economics in 2001, and Sir Angus Deaton, an economic Nobel laureate in 2015.

Biden and Trump are locked in a close election race. The Nov. 5 contest will be decided by voters in a handful of battleground states which are closely contested because their voting preferences can swing to Republicans or Democrats.

While headline inflation has slowed in the past two years, many U.S. consumers are still unhappy with the higher prices they have to pay for food, gas and other goods, according to public opinion polls.

Trump has pledged to impose tariffs on foreign imports, and up to at least 60% on Chinese goods coming into the U.S., a cost the economists say will be passed on to U.S. consumers in the form of price hikes.

"Many Americans are concerned about inflation, which has come down remarkably fast. There is rightly a worry that Donald Trump will reignite this inflation, with his fiscally irresponsible budgets," the letter states.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. James Singer, a Biden campaign spokesperson, called Trump's economic agenda dangerous.

The U.S. economy will be a major theme in the first presidential debate between Biden and Trump on Thursday. Trump blames Biden for high prices and inflation, while Biden claims Trump's trade policies, including tariffs, will raise inflation.

(Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Ross Colvin and Stephen Coates)