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Let Them Eat Bugs… How Out of Touch Elites Reveal Their Contempt and What Comes Next

Let Them Eat Bugs… How Out of Touch Elites Reveal Their Contempt and What Comes Next

Let Them Eat Bugs

Upon being told that the people had no bread, Marie Antoinette reportedly responded, “let them eat cake.”

These infamous words were a stark illustration of the French elite’s careless indifference to the plight of ordinary people. Moreover, they likely fueled the anger that sparked a revolution that overturned the French ruling system.

Had Marie Antoinette not been so out of touch, she might have had a better choice of words.

Although history doesn’t repeat itself, it does rhyme.

I am bringing this up because recently, modern political, financial, and media elites have made numerous “let them eat cake” remarks.

They similarly reveal how oblivious they are to the average person’s problems as inflation spirals out of control, shortages spread, the stock market crashes, and economic prospects look dimmer by the day.

Let’s look at them and examine what they could mean for the social and political environment in the future… and what you can do about it.

Example #1: Inflation Is Good

First central bankers, the mainstream media, and academia tell you there is no inflation.

Then, when inflation becomes undeniable, they tell you not to worry because inflation is only “transitory.”

Then, when it becomes apparent that it’s not merely transitory, they tell you not to worry because inflation is actually a good thing.

It’s not uncommon to see ridiculous headlines like this:

Example #2: No More Turkey at Thanksgiving

After inflation broke through multi-decade highs, it’s no longer possible to maintain the farce that “inflation is good.”

So the elite’s messaging has pivoted to ways the plebs can cope with ever-decreasing living standards.

Last Thanksgiving, it was impossible for the Federal Reserve to ignore the soaring costs of turkey. So, instead, the St. Louis branch had a helpful suggestion for those struggling—substitute delicious turkey for cheaper heavily-processed industrial sludge.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Gold As Cheap Today As In 1971 At $35


“Specie (gold and silver coin) is the most perfect medium because it will preserve its own level, because having intrinsic and universal value, it can never die in our hands, and it is the surest resource of reliance in time of war.”  – Thomas Jefferson

Since no current President or Prime Minister nor any Central Bank Chairman understands what money is or the relevance of gold, we turn above back to history and Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president for a proper definition.

Jefferson also understood that “Paper is Poverty, It is only the Ghost of Money, and not Money itself.”

As the world economy goes towards an inflationary depression exacerbated not only by epic debts and deficits but now also by war, the significance of gold takes on a whole different dimension.

So let’s dissect Jefferson’s statement:

“(GOLD) Will preserve its own level”

Gold is Constant Purchasing PowerAs such, gold doesn’t go up in real terms. An ounce of gold today buys a good suit for a man just like it did in Roman times.

The graph below shows gold as constant purchasing power at the 100 line whilst all the currencies are crashing to the bottom.

All currencies are continuing to lose value against real money although it never takes place in a straight line. With higher interest rates & inflation, higher deficits & debts, poverty, cost of wars and increasing pressures in the financial system, the currency debasement will now accelerate.

Gold is not an investment. Gold is eternal money. As such gold maintains its REAL value whereas paper money loses all its value over time. For 5000 years gold has outlived all other forms of money including paper money.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Report: US Gas Prices Could Double Soon, Amid Potential Supply Shortage

Report: US Gas Prices Could Double Soon, Amid Potential Supply Shortage

Report: US Gas Prices Could Double Soon, Amid Potential Supply Shortage
Prices for gas at an Exxon gas station on Capitol Hill are seen March 14, 2022 in Washington, DC.   (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Some gas stations across the country are already bracing for the Next Big Thing involving surging fuel prices, namely the price per gallon potentially exceeding $10.

For other stations, however, there might be no product left to sell at the pumps.

Throughout eastern Washington, according to a Post Millennial report, gas stations are running out of fuel.

In the Tri-Cities region of Kennewick, Pasco, and West Richland, customers are reportedly pulling up to pumps … only to find no gas available for purchase.

In fact, a local Facebook group has already identified 10 state stations that are currently out of fuel.

This current shortage mainly accounts for regular unleaded and premium gasolines; but the diesel supply is also in short supply, according to reports.

With the supply seemingly shrinking, and demand going way up, that naturally leads to higher fuel prices.

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A “76” gas station in Auburn, Washington has already begun reprogramming its pumps to “make room” for double-digit pricing, according to the Post.

In the report, a 76 spokesperson confirmed the national gas chain was reprogramming the functionality of its pumps, while also falling short of predicting gas prices would rise that high.

Back in January 2021, the final month of former President Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House, the average price of gas was $2.41 per gallon — with some states even reporting gas at less than $2 per gallon.

In the aftermath, though, coinciding with President Joe Biden taking office, fuel prices have skyrocketed in America.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Gasoline Prices Hit New Record Amid Refinery Bottlenecks And Tight Supplies

US Gasoline Prices Hit New Record Amid Refinery Bottlenecks And Tight Supplies

US retail gasoline prices soared to another record on Monday as global refineries struggled with adding new capacity ahead of the driving season.

Before diving into Goldman Sachs’ new commodity note explaining how global refining will be tight for the foreseeable future, last week, Saudi Energy Minister said, “the bottleneck is now to do with refining … many refineries in the world, especially in Europe and the US, have closed.”

Goldman’s commodity analyst Neil Mehta outlines a rash of refinery retirements, reduced Russian energy exports, recovering jet fuel demand, and tight global inventories for products, particularly diesel, have supported higher retail fuel prices.

Mehta points out US product inventories are below a 10% five-year average, refining utilization rates are below normal, global natural gas prices are high, and demand for diesel remains robust.

US product and total inventories are well below a five-year average.

US refining utilization struggles to increase as the driving season begins.

“We believe the oil market needs to price to demand destruction, which will drive the least elastic prices, such as those for distillate, higher,” he said, adding tight inventories could last through this year and well into 2023.

While the demand destruction has not begun yet (from what we have seen in the data), the price adjustments for refined products is starting to reprice drastically (in barrel equivalents below for easy comparisons)…

A lack of refinery capacity is the culprit of rising fuel prices. The average cost of US gas prices at the pump on Monday morning is $4.483 and $5.56 for diesel.

Today’s refinery bottlenecks may suggest that even higher prices are ahead this summer as the driving season begins.

Just a hint from the mainstream that limits precipitate rising oil prices

Just a hint from the mainstream that limits precipitate rising oil prices

Last week a Bloomberg writer at the very end of an article explained that the “only solution” to high gasoline and diesel prices is recession. While I would not accuse the writer of advocating degrowth—this would be too radical for a mainstream business publication—his analysis points to a key and obvious cause of today’s high prices for oil and other commodities: There isn’t enough of them to go around.

There’s an old saying in the oil industry that the solution to high prices is high prices. The logic is that high prices will do two things: 1) Reduce demand as those who cannot afford oil products at high prices will cut back and 2) incentivize more exploration and production as companies seek to increase production to take advantage of high prices.

The big question today is whether the second mechanism can actually ramp up oil production enough to bring down prices. In a recent survey a large number of oil executives said their production plans do not depend on current prices. Many cited the desire of investors in publicly traded companies to receive larger dividends and benefit from the corporate buyback of shares (which tends to increase the stock prices as fewer shares are available for trading).

It’s instructive that 9 percent of those responding to the survey cited an oil price of $120 per barrel as the level at which they would consider raising production. And keep in mind that they are NOT talking about $120 per barrel for a few months, but as an average price over many years—since it can take many years to bring large projects into production and those projects can produce for many years after production begins…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

European Natural Gas Prices To Triple In “Perfect Storm”

European Natural Gas Prices To Triple In “Perfect Storm”

A top commodity research firm in Norway warns a “perfect storm” is brewing as European energy security worsens following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which could result in the tripling of natural gas prices.

“There simply is not enough LNG around to meet demand. In the short term, this will make for a hard winter in Europe

“For producers, it suggests the next LNG boom is here, but it will arrive too late to meet the sharp spike in demand. The stage is set for a sustained supply deficit, high prices, extreme volatility, bullish markets, and heightened LNG geopolitics,” Kaushal Ramesh, a senior analyst for Gas and LNG at Rystad Energy, wrote. 

Rystad Energy said the EU has an “ambitious target to reduce dependence on Russian gas by 66% within this year – an aim that will clash with the EU’s goal of replenishing gas storage to 80% of capacity by 1 November.”

The firm said shunning Russian natgas from the continent destabilizes the entire global natgas market, which had a turbulent 2021 year-end with prices skyrocketing across Europe because of the lack of supplies. EU is currently reducing reliance on Russian natgas and has unveiled the possibility of banning Russian fossil fuels. This will only lead to more trouble for the EU, where prices could rise even higher.

Learn more with Rystad Energy’s GasMarketCube.

According to the report, 155 billion cubic meters of Russian natgas flowed into Europe in 2021, representing about 31% of the continent’s natgas supply.

Replacing a significant portion of this will be exceedingly difficult, with far-reaching consequences for Europe’s population, economy, and for the role of gas in the region’s energy transition,” Rystad Energy noted.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Food Riots In Sri Lanka Turn Deadly As Protesters Beat Up Police, Burn Down Politicians’ Houses

Food Riots In Sri Lanka Turn Deadly As Protesters Beat Up Police, Burn Down Politicians’ Houses

Two months ago, we noted the first Arab Spring 2.0 incident when, as a result of soaring food, energy (and everything else) prices, thousands of angry Iraqis took to the street to protest. Needless to say, their complaints did not get much traction, and in the meantime food prices have only exploded to fresh record highs, far surpassing the levels hit in 2011 when riots against, you guessed it, food prices toppled most MENA political regimes (not without some CIA backing).

And as food prices keep rising, the protests across poor nations keep escalating, and on Thursday protests broke out in Iran leading to at least 22 arrests, after the government cut subsidies for food, sending prices through the roof as authorities braced for more unrest in the following weeks, Fox News reports.

In videos shared on social media, protesters can be seen marching through Dezful and Mahshahr in the southwestern province of Khezestan, chanting “Death to Khamenei! Death to Raisi!” referring to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to create jobs, lift sanctions, and rescue the economy.

Iranian state media has not publicly addressed the protests, but they have been covered by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group. Footage shared by the NCRI shows protesters setting fire to a Basij military base in Jooneghan, a city in the Central District of Jooneghan county.

“Every so often we see these types of protests in Iran. Each time it is under a different premise – the price of eggs, the price of gas, the price of bread, but the underlining message which is supported by the slogans heard throughout the demonstrations is the same; they are protesting the entirety of a brutal regime,” Lisa Daftari, Iran expert and editor-in-chief of the Foreign Desk, said in a statement.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Gasoline & Diesel Prices Spike to New WTF Records, But Don’t Blame Crude Oil

Gasoline & Diesel Prices Spike to New WTF Records, But Don’t Blame Crude Oil

Predictions a few weeks ago of peak gasoline prices have been obviated by the inflationary mindset.

The average price of all grades of gasoline at the pump spiked to a record $4.33 per gallon on Monday, May 9, the third week in a row of increases, and was up 46% from a year ago, edging past the prior record of Monday, March 14 ($4.32), according to the US Energy Department’s EIA late Monday, based on its surveys of gas stations conducted during the day.

Gasoline price increases slap consumers directly in the face every time they get gas, and the classic ways of hiding price increases – such as making gallons smaller (shrinkflation) – would be illegal.

Adjusted for CPI inflation, it’s still not a record. In July 2008, gasoline at $4.11 would amount to $5.37 a gallon in today’s dollars. Long way to go, baby.

Back then, demand destruction rippling out of the Financial Crisis and the Great Recession toppled the price spike. We’re not there yet either – but the Fed has started to work on it.

Gasoline futures have been breath-takingly volatile since February, with huge spikes and drops, that led to a new record on Friday, but on Monday, they fell from that record (chart via Investing.com):

The average retail price of No. 2 highway diesel spiked to a record $5.62 a gallon at the pump on Monday, the EIA reported late Monday. Year-over-year, the price of diesel has spiked by 76%!

Adjusted for CPI inflation, that spike in diesel prices is still not a record. In July 2008, diesel peaked at $4.76 a gallon, which would be $6.22 in today’s dollars. Long way to go, baby.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Gas Prices Soar As Europe And Asia Scramble For LNG

US Gas Prices Soar As Europe And Asia Scramble For LNG

U.S. gas prices have surged to the highest level in real terms since the financial crisis in 2008 as strong demand for LNG from buyers in Europe and Asia puts pressure on inventories. Front-month futures for gas delivered to Henry Hub in Louisiana are trading at almost $9 per million British thermal units, up from just over $3 at the same point last year and less than $3 in 2019.

Front-month futures have surged into a record backwardation of almost $4 above futures for delivery one-year from now, as traders anticipate inventories will remain under pressure through the rest of the year.

Working gas stocks in underground storage are 335 billion cubic feet or 18% below the pre-pandemic five-year seasonal average for 2015-2019.

Inventories have remained low despite a fairly mild winter, with population-weighted heating demand this winter in the Lower 48 states around 7% below the average.

Domestic gas production has recovered to its pre-pandemic peak, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But exports especially in the form of LNG have risen sharply, which is keeping inventories low and putting upward pressure on prices.

In recent months, LNG exports have been equivalent to 10-12% of domestic dry gas production, up from around 4% in early 2019. Exports have become a big enough share of the market they have started to enforce a partial convergence with prices in Europe and Asia.

U.S. gas supplies have tightened as Europe and Asia scramble to buy LNG to refill their own depleted storage after last winter and amid fears about a disruption of gas supplies from Russia.

The rise in prices will enforce maximum fuel-switching among power generators from gas to coal to conserve fuel stocks this summer, with spot gas now uncompetitive against coal except for peak generation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Buckle Up for a Crashing Economy and More Inflation

Buckle Up for a Crashing Economy and More Inflation

Jerome Powell began hinting that inflation might be a problem last August. In November, Powell retired the word “transitory.” But here we are in May and the Federal Reserve still hasn’t done anything substantive to address the inflation problem.

And now it may be too late. It’s probably time to buckle up for more inflation – and perhaps a crashing economy.

Powell and Company have been talking tough for months, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of action. In March, the central bank raised interest rates a paltry 25 basis points. At the May meeting, the FOMC followed up with a more aggressive 1/2% rate hike but took a 75 basis point rate hike off the table.

Meanwhile, the Fed didn’t even start tapering quantitative easing until January. In mid-April, the balance sheet was still expanding, hitting an all-time high of $8.97 trillion.

At the May FOMC meeting, the Fed unveiled its balance sheet reduction scheme. It was hardly impressive. If the Fed shrinks its balance sheet at the proposed rate, it will be back to pre-pandemic levels in about eight years.

The Fed has targeted a 2.5% interest rate by the end of the year. With GDP already going negative in Q1, it’s questionable that the Fed can get there without completely tanking the economy. There are already signs that the Fed has pricked the housing bubble.

And as Mises Institute senior editor Ryan McMaken pointed out in a recent article, the Fed really needs to push rates much higher than 3%.

One percent may seem high to some market observers of recent rate cycles, but we’re now in a high-inflation environment with price inflation above 8 percent. The Fed is going to have to do more than a mild hike here and there to make a dent in 8 percent CPI (Consumer Price Index) inflation…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

U.S. East Coast Diesel Supply Is Running on Fumes

Last week, East coast inventories of diesel plunged to the lowest seasonal level since government records started more than 30 years ago. The shortage caused a crisis in the diesel market, sending wholesale and retail diesel prices to an all-time high. Diesel is today more expensive in America that it was in 2008, when the price of crude oil surged to nearly $150 a barrel compared with little more than $100 currently.

Diesel is the workhorse of the global economy. It’s used everywhere to keep trucks, tractors, freight trains and factories moving. And its ubiquity means the increase in its price will exacerbate global inflationary pressures.From central bank interest rates to supermarket prices, a lot hinges on diesel. On Tuesday, average U.S. retail diesel prices posted the fifth-consecutive fresh daily record, surging above $5.3 per gallon, up nearly 75% from a year ago. The price spike is worse on the Eastern seaboard, where diesel retails now for more than $6 per gallon, nearly double 2021’s price.The oil tanks in New York harbor are nearly empty for reasons both global and local. Around the world, diesel is in short supply as demand has surged well above pre-Covid levels, spurred by a boom in freight…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…



Why every American should care that diesel prices are surging across the country

Why every American should care that diesel prices are surging across the country

Gasoline prices are increasing almost daily, pinching the wallets and pocketbooks of nearly all Americans with cars. However, as bad as that news is, diesel prices are surging even more across the country. Today’s truckstop retail diesel prices hit a new record of $5.32/gallon. Since February 1st, national truckstop diesel prices have increased by $1.57/gallon. For an owner-operator whose truck gets 6.5 miles per gallon, this equates to a cost increase of $0.24 per mile.

A graph showing the price of diesel per gallon.

Diesel’s importance to our economy

To many Americans (including politicians), diesel prices are so removed from their version of reality that they often dismiss the importance of diesel to the U.S. and global economies. However, diesel is the fuel that drives the economy and leaves major industries vulnerable to cost shocks.

Without diesel fuel, the U.S. economy would collapse in a matter of days. Our supply chains would completely shrivel, almost overnight.

Trucks use it to haul our goods across the country. Of all Class 8 trucks (the big ones), 97% use diesel. No, Elon Musk is not going to save us here. When Tesla announced the Semi in 2017, Musk projected that over 100,000 would be produced by 2022. Today there are less than 20, mostly prototypes.

Trains also depend on diesel to transport products across the country. Almost every train in the country depends on diesel for energy.

An orange BNSF train hauls coal
A BNSF train hauls coal. (Photo: Flickr/Aaron Hockley)

Even a large portion of our electricity is indirectly powered by diesel. Over one-fifth (22%) of our electricity in the United States comes from coal. Diesel-powered trains transport coal to power plants across the nation.

Diesel is also critical to our imports and exports, because 80% of the ships that transport products via the ocean are powered by diesel.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Gathering Stagflationary Storm

roubini163_STEFANI REYNOLDSAFP via Getty Images_gas pricesSTEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

The Gathering Stagflationary Storm

While recent shocks have made the current inflationary surge and growth slowdown more acute, they are hardly the global economy’s only problems. Even without them, the medium-term outlook would be darkening, owing to a broad range of economic, political, environmental, and demographic trends.

NEW YORK – The new reality with which many advanced economies and emerging markets must reckon is higher inflation and slowing economic growth. And a big reason for the current bout of stagflation is a series of negative aggregate supply shocks that have curtailed production and increased costs.

This should come as no surprise. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many sectors to lock down, disrupted global supply chains, and produced an apparently persistent reduction in labor supply, especially in the United States. Then came  of Ukraine, which has driven up the price of energy, industrial metals, food, and fertilizers. And now, China has ordered  in major economic hubs such as Shanghai, causing additional supply-chain disruptions and transport bottlenecks.

But even without these important short-term factors, the medium-term outlook would be darkening. There are many reasons to worry that today’s  will continue to characterize the global economy, producing higher inflation, lower growth, and possibly recessions in many economies.

For starters, since the global financial crisis, there has been a retreat from globalization and a return to various forms of protectionism. This reflects geopolitical factors and domestic political motivations in countries where large cohorts of the population feel “left behind.” Rising geopolitical tensions and the supply-chain trauma left by the pandemic are likely to lead to more reshoring of manufacturing from China and emerging markets to advanced economies – or at least near-shoring (or “friend-shoring”) to clusters of politically allied countries. Either way, production will be misallocated to higher-cost regions and countries.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Walking backward into the storm

Walking backward into the storm

Are we in a recession?  It is an interesting question because nobody can know for sure.  A recession is defined as two successive quarters of negative growth.  Okay, but how do we know if, in the quarter we are in, the economy is shrinking?  Again, we cannot know this.  This is because the latest data we have is for February 2022… and it showed an unexpected fall in growth to just 0.1 percent.  In the event that growth turned sufficiently negative in March 2022, then the first quarter of 2022 as a whole might have been negative.  And in the event that this negative trend continued through April and on through May and June 2022, then we would indeed be in a recession… but we will only know for sure when the data is published in August.

It is on this kind of uncertainty that economic policy is set.  On top of the slowdown in growth – which may have improved or worsened, but nobody knows yet – comes data for March showing a dramatic fall in retail spending, largely resulting from rising food and fuel prices.  Is this because households and businesses can no longer afford to buy, or are they reining in their spending in anticipation of higher prices in future?  Again, we do not know.  Certainly, food and energy retailers have warned that prices will have to rise in future.  At the same time, households and businesses face higher local and national taxes and utility bills.  And so, falling sales is likely a combination of both prices that have already risen and the expectation of price rises to come.

Crucially though, the lens through which economic policy makers are viewing the economic clouds gathering on the horizon is a financial lens which looks back fondly on the sunlit uplands of the pre-2008 years as some kind of normal…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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