Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay

I am sure by now you and your family are feeling the effects of rising inflation.  It has manifested itself in just about every aspect of American life…rising food costs, building supplies, housing costs, energy and most of all, good ole’ bacon.  What is going on?

The truest definition of inflation is when demand outstrips supply.   Inflation is insidious and affects all parts of society but has no greater impact than on lower and middle class Americans, which for all intensive purposes these days is 90%+ of our society.  It is punitive certainly for lower class Americans who cannot afford to “pay up” for food and products, including gasoline.

This past week the Government posted its upcoming Social Security increase would be 5.9% the largest such payment increase in 40 plus years, but hardly a dent in the ability to keep up with rising cost of goods and services.

Copper prices shot up and are approaching new highs while lumber prices have rallied 50% in the past few weeks.  These are all disconcerting signs of steep price increases continuing

This reminds me very much of the 1970’s where I cut my teeth trading on the floor of the commodities markets in the World Trader Center. All commodities flew; from gas to sugar to coffee and even pork bellies all inflated in price like the current table below, and they didn’t let up for years.

Inflation was already simmering with interest rates close to 40-year lows before COVID hit. The Fed was struggling to taper, but backed off as equity markets could barely handle even the suggestion of higher rates. COVID was just the tipping point.

Now we struggle to unload cargo from China and seek out enough truck drivers to haul the goods (there is estimated to be a 100,000 plus shortage of truck drivers in the US) while containers full of goods sit on the docks for weeks.

The only real way to deal with the harmful effects of Inflation is for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates and pump on the brakes of the economy to reduce demand with the hope that it will slow down price increases.

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