(Michael Every of Rabobank) You think this whole data series is bananas now, as job openings soar even as job creation doesn’t? Wait until we see the impact of the forced lay-offs that begin as vaccine mandates are imposed on the labor force. Also imagine what this will mean for strained supply chains: let’s lose a few thousand more truckers, for example, and see where it gets us.
The Fed’s Daly had comments on this over the weekend, noting “everyone is feeling the rising prices, and it’s painful.” However, “Inflation is directly related to Covid,” and hence to unwanted injections rather than unneeded monetary ones. Luckily, Daly doesn’t see this as “a long-term phenomenon,” yet at the same time, “If we continue to have supply bottlenecks and we keep spending, we will have more inflation.” Given stopping spending means a recession, which some suspect the roll-over in US consumer confidence already flags, presumably the onus is on containers, ships, ports, warehouses, roads, truckers, and rail to all just sort themselves out with shots in the arm. Really. Meanwhile, winegrowers in Argentina cannot bottle their grapes due to a lack of glass, a further painful reminder that our problems are far larger than vaccine holdouts.
The energy crisis also continues, with India and China both flagging blackouts that will hit supply chains from another angle – and China seeing massive flooding in the coal-producing region it is relying on to keep the lights running. While ‘gasflation’ is already in focus, energy is needed to make everything, especially the fertilizer needed for food production: and global fertilizer prices just hit the highest level since their 2008 peak, with China, the world’s largest exporter, no longer doing so. So, let’s hum “Yes, we have no bananas today,” while wondering if a pick-up in the Covid vaccination rate is really going to grow any for us.