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Experts Are Warning That Empty Shelves And Food Shortages Are Going To Continue For Many Weeks To Come

Experts Are Warning That Empty Shelves And Food Shortages Are Going To Continue For Many Weeks To Come

The term “return to normal” is being thrown around a lot these days, but will things ever truly return to the way that they were before the pandemic came along?  I don’t think so.  From an economic standpoint, an extraordinary amount of lasting damage has been done over the past two years.  A seemingly endless list of major problems has thrown thousands upon thousands of critical supply chains into a complete and utter state of chaos, and this has resulted in some very painful shortages.  For quite a while, the mainstream media kept insisting that the shortages would soon be gone, but now they are being forced to admit the truth.  If you can believe it, NPR has even published a major story about the growing shortages in this country

No, you’re not imagining it. Some grocery store shelves are bare again, conjuring bad memories of spring 2020 for many.

Social media is rife with images of empty supermarket aisles and signs explaining the lack of available food and other items. Stores such as Aldi have apologized to customers for the shortages.

Nobody in the mainstream media ever imagined that the shortages would last this long.

For certain items such as computer chips, the duration of the shortages is now approaching two full years.

Of course fear of Omicron has made things even worse, and one expert interviewed by NPR suggested that supermarkets in the U.S. are now facing a “perfect storm”

“We’re really seeing the perfect storm,” Phil Lempert, editor of the website SupermarketGuru.com, told NPR.

Isn’t it strange how that term just seems to keep popping up all over the place?

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

Supermarkets Alter Layouts, Use Decoys to Fill Gaps Left by Shortages

Supermarkets Alter Layouts, Use Decoys to Fill Gaps Left by Shortages

While chaos reigns in supply chains, grocery stores are trying to present an appealing and seemingly organized front for customers. To do so, some are turning to age-old tricks of the trade, and developing new ones, to cover up gaps on the shelves.

That includes moving products to unlikely places in stores.

Shoppers in the U.K. said they have spotted bulky crates of beer piled into aisles reserved for prepackaged meals and boxes of chocolate filling crates usually stocked with fresh vegetables. One branch of Co-operative Group Ltd., which operates stores under Co-op, stocked refrigerated displays with shelf-stable HP Sauce and Heinz Salad Cream condiments so that shoppers wouldn’t see empty racks.

“We’ve been impacted by some patchy disruption to our deliveries,” a spokesperson for Co-op said. “Our teams are always trying to make sure our stores look as attractive as possible and sometimes managers come up with creative ways of making sure shelves are full.”

Businesses the world over are experiencing product shortages as demand for goods has rebounded faster than supply following the worst of the pandemic, which also disrupted labor availability at food suppliers. In the U.K., 17% of consumers said they couldn’t buy essential food items because they were unavailable between Sept. 22 and Oct. 3, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.

Retailers say they need to maintain their customer experience as best they can to remain competitive.

Some 58% of consumers said supply-chain disruptions, product shortages and shipping delays have made shopping more stressful, and 41% said product shortages and significant shipping and delivery delays would cause them to abandon a brand, according to results from an October survey by New York-based trade association ICSC, which represents retail businesses.

For grocers, that means managing stores to at least look well-stocked, ordered and tidy.

Relief from High Prices Unlikely, Analysts Say Ahead of Consumer Inflation Data Release

Relief from High Prices Unlikely, Analysts Say Ahead of Consumer Inflation Data Release

With investors closely eyeing two major data releases this week on inflation—one on producer input costs and the other on consumer prices—Wells Fargo analysts say it’s unlikely sticker-shock-weary consumers will see relief as the persistent supply-side crunch will “keep fanning the flames on inflation in the near term.”

On Tuesday, the Labor Department will release data for October’s producer price index (PPI), which tends to front-run consumer inflation data as at least some production costs get passed on to consumers. Economists expect a year-over-year rise of 8.7 percent in the PPI inflation measure, which would be the highest reading in the history of the series. Last month’s PPI came in at 8.6 percent, a record high.

And on Wednesday, the Labor Department will issue figures for October’s consumer price index (CPI), a key measure of inflation from the perspective of end consumers of goods and services. Consensus forecasts predict a year-over-rise of 5.3 percent in the CPI inflation gauge for October, with the prior month’s rise amounting to 5.4 percent, near a 30-year high.

On a month-over-month basis, CPI is expected to clock in at 0.5 percent, according to consensus forecasts released by FXStreet, though Wells Fargo analysts expect inflation was running hotter.

“Consumer Price Index report for the month of October is unlikely to offer much of a reprieve on the inflation front,” Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a note, in which they predict a 0.6 percent month-over-month increase in the CPI index. “If realized, this would put headline CPI inflation at 5.9 percent year-over-year.”

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

Farmers Wait Weeks For John Deere Parts As Strikes Paralyze Midwest Factories 

Farmers Wait Weeks For John Deere Parts As Strikes Paralyze Midwest Factories 

Multiple John Deere dealerships report part delays for tractors and heavy equipment amid an ongoing strike of more than 10,000 members of the United Auto Workers union at 12 of Deere’s Midwest factories and facilities, according to Bloomberg.

Dealerships note that customers face weeks-long delays for tractor and equipment parts that would typically take several days to fulfill. These parts and components are crucial for farmers to keep combine harvesters and other farm equipment humming during harvest season to stay ahead of the wintry season.

Deere’s situation worsened this week when 90% of union workers rejected its offer that would have ended the walkout, which began in mid-October. Workers are encouraged to seek higher pay because of Deere’s strong earnings.

“It seems general membership feels emboldened by this current political moment of labor power. They’re pushing things further than the union leadership apparently wants to go,” Victor Chen, a sociologist at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies labor, told CBS News. “It’s a gamble, but the economic wind is against their backs, given widespread supply chain problems and the current worker shortage.”

Jon Fisher, a wholesaler of tractors and other machinery in Columbia, South Carolina, said supply chain issues already complicated the picture for procuring parts. Now strikes are a “doubly whammy” where parts are more expensive and harder to find. He said what used to take days now takes three or more weeks.

According to CNN Business, the strike has forced the tractor company to explore whether it can source parts from its 59 foreign factories to satisfy domestic demand while striking continues with no end in sight.

Deere has considered using replacement workers or strikebreakers, a ploy by companies to counteract strikes, but there are few workers in the labor market.

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

Intermission: The Machine Stops?

Intermission: The Machine Stops?

‘I have seen the hills of Wessex.’

“The Machine,” they exclaimed, “feeds us and clothes us and houses us; through it we speak to one another, through it we see one another, in it we have our being. The Machine is the friend of ideas and the enemy of superstition: the Machine is omnipotent, eternal; blessed is the Machine.”

– E. M. Forster, The Machine Stops, 1909

Samhain, in old Ireland, was one of two annual festivals (the other was Beltaine, in May) in which the veil between the world of humans and the otherworld of the Aos sí – the ‘fairies’ in modern parlance – was said to be thin. Fires were lit, and the burial mounds were opened to allow the dead to move freely between the worlds. Some of the neolithic tombs here have portals which are aligned with the rising of the sun on the eve of Samhain – the 31st of October.

Neopagans still take Samhain fairly seriously, but in today’s Ireland the tradition has been almost entirely subsumed by the modern American festival of Halloween. As across much of the Western world, Halloween has moved far from its origins in either Samhain or the Christian festival of All Hallows, and has mutated into a month-long deluge of consumer crap, built around a few Hollywood horror franchises and aimed at getting children to buy as many sweets, pumpkins, plastic witches’ hats, Harry Potter Quidditch broomsticks, inflatable ghost toys and zombie-themed biscuit selections as humanly possible.

Not this year, though. This year, you couldn’t find a cheap, Chinese-made plastic vampire mask in the shops around here for love or money. You couldn’t find much at all, in fact…

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

Truckers Wanted

It seems that the state of Florida is doing more to address the supply chain crisis than the entire Biden Administration. The American Trucking Association reported that their industry now has a record shortage of 80,000 drivers. Truck drivers are essential to maintaining a steady supply chain, and despite the climate change narrative, fewer trucks on the road mean that businesses cannot be supplied with the essentials they need. Distributors in Florida are now offering salaries of up to $110,000 a year with sign-on bonuses as high as $15,000. Even referral bonuses have been going for between $3,000 to $5,000. The plan to attract workers comes shortly after the state announced that their ports are open for business.

Nearly half of America’s small businesses are feeling the effects of the supply chain crisis. Ships have been forced to turn around from ports, rerouting back to Asia, as there have not been enough workers to transport products. The trucking industry has been warning that Biden’s policies would lead to disaster. “I’m pretty discouraged. I don’t know how anybody can think an anti-capitalist agenda can be good for transportation,” David Owen, president of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) in January. The entire trucking industry has been hesitant since Biden stepped into office, and with good reason.

The Democrat-controlled House voted to raise the motor carriers’ liability insurance minimum requirement from $750,000 to $2 million, eliminating competition for larger trucking companies. Biden’s climate change agenda resulted in the Keystone Pipeline XL cancelation. His plans to reduce carbon emissions producers and fracking also resulted in higher prices at the pump. Ending the supply bottlenecks requires the US to put more trucks on the road, and truckers should be treated with dignity rather than criminals who are destroying the climate.

Why Supply Chain Disruptions Will Persist

Why Supply Chain Disruptions Will Persist

Just-in-time (JIT) is a production model used by companies to create items for immediate demand. The point of JIT is to avoid the waste associated with overproduction. But when supply chain snarls appear, JIT has become a significant headache for US companies such as Ford who has had to shutter multiple vehicle plants because of their inability to source semiconductor chips.

Companies are rethinking their production model to just-in-case inventory (JICI), a more suitable model in today’s challenging environment that allows more inventory to be stored and will help ensure future orders are filled.

JIT still dominates the corporate world, but JICI could make a strong comeback due to global uncertainties. Bloomberg has provided an in-depth view of various US industries and their potential disruptions in foreign supplies.

Source: Bloomberg

Foreign supply-chain production is the largest in textiles, basic metals, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, and electronics. Many of these industries are entirely reliant on production from China. The problem with that is Beijing has ordered energy-intensive factories to shutter operations to conserve electricity amid a massive energy crunch. This will complicate the picture for firms that source a majority of their goods from the country. On top of this all, port congestion on either side of the Pacific continues to increase to record levels.

JIT is a flawed production model when supply chains break. Maybe companies will learn to transition to JICI and hold inventory in case of a rainy day.

For more insight on when global supply chain bottlenecks will subside, Dubai’s DP World, one of the biggest international port operators, Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem told Bloomberg earlier this month that disruptions could last for another two years.

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

“Transitory” Shortages & Inflation Are Actually Your Quality Of Life Being Stolen Right Before Your Eyes

“Transitory” Shortages & Inflation Are Actually Your Quality Of Life Being Stolen Right Before Your Eyes

The Washington Post published an op-ed urging Americans dealing with product shortages to lower their expectations. My response? Don’t settle. Failed policies have our country devolving.

There’s no doubt our country has all of a sudden slipped into the most precarious state we’ve been able to readily confirm with our own two eyes in decades.

We are suffering from runaway inflation, we have a monstrous labor shortage, and products we normally would have abundant access to are missing from store shelves. The country doesn’t produce anything anymore, we have doubled our Central Bank’s balance sheet in under two years and the money supply has gone parabolic.

Four reasons Americans are still seeing empty shelves and long waits for  many products | MinnPost
Source: Minn Post

And engineering solutions for these issues requires correctly identifying where the problem is coming from to begin with. It appears we can either go one of two directions when we try to deduce the cause of these issues.

The first direction we can go in is to point to monetary and fiscal policy and look at their direct effects on the state of the country and our economy. This, I believe, is the pragmatic approach to solving the issues our nation faces.

The second direction, according to a new Washington Post op-ed, is apparently to blame and shame ourselves for being greedy and assuming that we ever deserved such a quality of life to begin with.

The Post recently published a piece called “Opinion: Don’t rant about short-staffed stores and supply chain woes”, which put this argument on the table, basically telling people to shut up and be thankful for the little they have.

Source: WaPo

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

Shortages & Hyperinflation Lead to Total Misery

SHORTAGES & HYPERINFLATION LEAD TO TOTAL MISERY

At the end of major economic cycles, shortages develop in all areas of the economy. And this is what the world is experiencing today on a global basis. There is a general lack of labour, whether it is restaurant staff, truck drivers or medical personnel.

There are also shortages of raw materials, lithium (electric car batteries), semi-conductors, food,  a great deal of consumer products, cardboard boxes, energy and etc, etc. The list is endless.

SHORTAGES EVERYWHERE

Everything is of course blamed on Covid but most of these shortages are due to structural problems. We have today a global system which cannot cope with the tiniest imbalances in the supply chain.

Just one small component missing could change history as the nursery rhyme below explains:

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
For want of a horse, the rider was lost.
For want of a rider, the battle was lost.
For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a 
horseshoe nail
.

Cavalry battles are lost if there is a shortage of horseshoe nails.

The world is not just vulnerable to shortages of goods and services.

BOMBSHELLS

Bombshells could appear from anywhere. Let’s just list a few like:

  • Dollar collapse (and other currencies)
  • Stock market crash
  • Debt defaults, bond collapse (e.g. Evergrande)
  • Liquidity crisis  (if  money printing stops or has no effect)
  • Inflation leading to hyperinflation

There is a high likelihood that not just one of the above will happen in the next few years but all of them.

Because this is how empires and economic bubbles end.

The Roman Empire needed 500,000 troops to control its vast empire.

Map of the Roman Empire.

Emperor Septimius Severus (200 AD) advised his sons to “Enrich the troops with gold but no one else”.

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

China Export Curbs On Fertilizer Could Worsen Global Food Price Shock 

China Export Curbs On Fertilizer Could Worsen Global Food Price Shock 

China’s move to impose export restrictions on fertilizers will be felt worldwide. Beijing’s increased scrutiny comes as global fertilizer markets have been battered by plant shutdowns and skyrocketing prices that may continue to boost food inflation well into 2022. Chinese Communist Party officials have called for stable fertilizer supplies and food security amid overseas turmoil.

On Oct. 15, Beijing implemented a new rule requiring additional inspection of fertilizer exports. The General Administration of Customs added new inspection requirements on urea to ammonium nitrate, according to Bloomberg.

Last month, a statement published on WeChat by the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, urged local authorities to ensure stable prices by keeping fertilizer plants operating despite widespread power cuts. This call for adequate fertilizer supplies is critical for the country to sustain agricultural production amid mounting food security risks.

Despite export curbs, Urea futures in Zhengzhou recently hit a new record high.

Bloomberg sources said some recent Chinese fertilizer cargoes had been delayed by customs for additional checks to obtain new export certificates. They said some shipments would be rerouted for domestic markets or face further delays.

A reduction in exports from China (a country that controls 30% of the global fertilizer market) could cause shortages in India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia, the biggest buyers of its fertilizers. Higher prices could force farmers to plant less and or have to raise crop prices. The UN’s global food tracker is at a new decade high and may continue to soar higher.

Signs of a fertilizer shortage have already emerged. Europe may face difficulties sourcing fertilizer supplies at multiple domestic plants that have shuttered or reduced the output of the nutrients because of high natural gas prices. China’s export restrictions will make it harder for the euro area to import supplies…

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

Here’s Why Energy Prices & Shortages Are Going Berserk | Art Berman

Here’s Why Energy Prices & Shortages Are Going Berserk | Art Berman

Energy is suddenly headline news.

Oil, which traded at negative prices for a brief moment last year due to the global economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, is now expected by a number of analysts to hit $100/barrel soon.

Europe is worried about not having enough natural gas to heat its homes this winter.

A petrol shortage in the UK is making it a challenge for folks to fill their cars. And prices at the pump are back near record highs in the US.

And China and India are so short on coal that major metropolitan power plants are resorting to rolling blackouts to conserve fuel.

Why are so many regions of the world suddenly experiencing these energy crises?

Petroleum geologist & energy analyst Art Berman has a lot of the answers we’re looking for, and I’m so pleased he was able to join us today on such short notice.

Blackout Warning For Delhi If Coal Supply Not Restored In 2 Days

Over half of India’s 135 coal-fired power plants, which in total supply around 70 per cent of the country’s electricity, have fuel stocks of less than three days

Power Crisis: Coal-fired power plants are facing shortage of coal

There could be a blackout in the national capital in the next two days if coal supplies to power plants do not improve, a Delhi minister said today. Delhi joins a long queue of states including Tamil Nadu and Odisha that have raised concerns over long power cuts due to shortage of coal in power plants.

Over half of India’s 135 coal-fired power plants, which in total supply around 70 per cent of the country’s electricity, have fuel stocks of less than three days, data from the central grid operator showed, news agency Reuters had reported earlier this week.

“If coal supply doesn’t improve, there will be a blackout in Delhi in two days,” the national capital’s Power Minister Satyendra Jain said today. “The coal-fired power plants that supply electricity to Delhi have to keep a minimum coal stock of one month, but now it has come down to one day,” Mr Jain said.

“Our request to the centre is that railway wagons should be arranged and coal should be transported to the plants soonest. All the plants are already running in only 55 per cent capacity,” the minister in Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government said.

Mr Jain alleged the coal crisis appears to be “man-made, just as the crisis of medical oxygen supply during the COVID-19 second wave.”

“There is politics going on. If you create a crisis, it will seem that some great work has been done by solving it,” the Delhi minister said.

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

The Current Supply Chain Crisis Could Throw The Global Economy Off Course!

The Current Supply Chain Crisis Could Throw The Global Economy Off Course!

Be ready! The current supply chain crisis is becoming noticeable to most at this point and it could toss the entire global economy off course.  With just the right problem, we could all be facing shortages that would make the toilet paper incident of 2020 look like a daydream.

Be ready! The current supply chain crisis is becoming noticeable to most at this point and it could toss the entire global economy off course.  With just the right problem, we could all be facing shortages that would make the toilet paper incident of 2020 look like a daydream.

The Guardian has explained that all of the problems with the supply chain, including shortages, are in one way or another tangled up in the surge of post-pandemic consumer demand. Of course, when all of the problems are taken together, they threaten what one leading economist calls a “stagflationary wind” that could blow the global economy off course. The supply chain problems are also bigger than we are currently being told according to many who work in the transportation and manufacturing industries.

“The supply chain problems are much more persistent than most policymakers expected, although companies are less surprised,” Mohamed El-Erian, and adviser to the insurance giant Allianz and president of Queens’ College, Cambridge, said. “Governments are having to rethink quickly because the three elements – supply side, transport, labor – are coming together to blow a stagflationary wind through the global economy.”

Instead of waiting on the government’s response, which will more than likely only include the printing of more money and the push of the inflation rate higher, we should be preparing

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

Soaring energy prices in Europe are forcing U.K. factories to shut down

Soaring energy prices in Europe are forcing U.K. factories to shut down

Europe is facing an extreme squeeze for energy supplies, with gas and power prices breaking records day after day

Europe’s energy crunch has forced a major fertilizer maker to shut down two U.K. plants, the first sign that a record rally in gas and power prices is threatening to slow the region’s economic recovery.
CF Industries Holdings Inc. said Wednesday it’s halting operations at its Billingham and Ince manufacturing complexes due to high natural gas prices, with no estimate for when production will resume. European gas and power futures tumbled Thursday on signs energy-intensive industries are curbing consumption.The move comes as Europe is facing an extreme squeeze for energy supplies, with gas and power prices breaking records day after day. The continent is running out of time to refill storage facilities before the start of the winter as flows from top suppliers Russia and Norway remain limited. There’s also a fight for shipments of liquefied natural gas, with Asia buying up cargoes to meet its own demand.

The crisis could have severe economic consequences. Soaring prices are exposing the risk of power outages this winter, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Blackouts would likely send energy prices even higher, compounding concerns about inflation and adding to the rising costs businesses are already shouldering for raw materials.

CF has so far taken the most drastic move of companies operating in the region, but others are warning of the likely blow-back.High energy prices are creating “inflationary pressure on every other cost” that will end up being passed on to customers, said Pascal Leroy, senior vice-president of core ingredients at Roquette Freres SA, a food processing company based in northern France. And France’s top sugar producer, Tereos, warned of surging natural gas prices raising production cost for the company “tremendously.”

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

Four Reasons Why You Should Stash the Cash!

With inflation and gas and food shortages on the rise, it is an excellent idea to have some cash stashed for emergencies. I know we live in a world that believes that there is an ATM around the corner and keeping cash in your wallet or in your home is obsolete, but there are some events that will prove it is good to have some loose cash around.

1. Stolen Credit and Debit Cards

A few years ago, I used to run at a local park after I got off work. My workout sessions were only 35 minutes to an hour, so I was never particularly worried that my car would be broken into. However, one Friday when I returned to my vehicle, my windows were busted out, and my bag, which was hidden, was missing. I should have known better than to leave a bag in the car, but I never thought it could happen to me. (How many times have we heard that phrase and shook our heads?) There is nothing worse than having your wallet stolen and having to contact the credit card companies and the banks to tell them. Immediately, all purchasing power is put on stop. In my case, it was on a Friday, and I couldn’t get my debit card reissued until the following Monday. At that time, I did not have a stash of cash, and I had to borrow money from my family. This one event is what led me to having a stash of cash.

2. Limits on Large Purchases

Many families are experiencing financial difficulties because of Covid, and since people have been unable to pay their card debt, the banks have reduced the limits that they offer…

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

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