Shortages are emerging throughout the supply chain as the pandemic disrupts shipments, demand, supply and all other levers of the global economy.
Here’s what’s hard to get, why, and for how long, according to CNN Business editors.
The fried chicken wars are straining the poultry population. Big chains, including KFC, Buffalo Wild Wings and Wingstop, “pay high prices” for chicken and suppliers are struggling to maintain demand due to difficulties attracting workers, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.
This turns out to be a problem for KFC: its revamped chicken sandwich sells for twice as much as its predecessor and is becoming too popular to meet demand. According to Yum CEO David Gibbs, interest in the product, along with the tight supply of chicken, made keeping pace with customer orders the “biggest challenge” for KFC as we enter the second quarter.
Some restaurants have removed chicken fillets and Nashville Hot flavored chicken dishes from certain restaurant menus due to limited supply, WSJ reported.
Summer is just around the corner, but anyone eager to cool off in the pool to cool off is at risk of a big ‘shock’. A shortage of chlorine can make it more difficult for pool owners to purchase disinfection tablets.
Chlorine supplies are running out due to a fire at a chemical plant in Louisiana last August that was damaged by Hurricane Laura. As a result, tab prices have skyrocketed. A quick glance at Amazon shows that a 50-pound bucket of In the Swim-branded 3-inch chlorine tablets now costs up to $ 169.99, about double the normal cost.
“The extent of the chlorine shortage is still unknown,” said the B&B Pool and Spa Center, a retailer based in Chestnut Ridge, New York, on its website.
What is clear is that swimming pool owners should consider stocking up as soon as possible. “When it comes to retail prices, it’s a fact that we’re seeing increases across the industry,” Michael Egeck, CEO of Leslie’s pool supplies company, said on a conference call. on the results in February.
Are you looking for a new car, smartphone or washing machine this year? A global shortage of computer chips could force you to wait a bit and pay more.
A growing number of manufacturers around the world are struggling to secure the supply of semiconductors, delaying the production and delivery of goods and threatening to drive up prices paid by consumers.
Several factors are at the origin of the crisis, which was initially concentrated in the automotive industry. The first is the pandemic, which plunged the global economy into recession last year, disrupting supply chains and changing consumer buying habits. Automakers have cut orders for chips while tech companies, whose products have been boosted by life in lockdown, bought as many as they could.
The shortage is going from bad to worse, stretching from cars to consumer electronics. With the bulk of chip production focused on a handful of vendors, analysts warn the crisis will likely last until 2021.
Millions of people trapped in their homes for more than a year are expected to hit the road on a much-needed post-pandemic vacation this summer. But good luck finding gas.
It is not that there is a looming shortage of crude oil or gasoline. Rather, it is the tanker drivers needed to deliver gasoline to stations that are in short supply.
Between 20% and 25% of the tanker trucks in the fleet are parked this summer due to a lack of qualified drivers, according to the National Tank Truck Carriers, the industry’s trade group.
“We’ve been facing a driver shortage for some time, but the pandemic has taken this problem and metastasized it,” said Ryan Streblow, executive vice president of the NTTC. “It has certainly grown exponentially. “
Gasoline prices, which typically increase in early summer with the entry into force of seasonal regulations – requiring the more expensive “summer blend” of gasoline needed to combat smog – also increase.
The national average price for regular gas is already averaging $ 2.94 per gallon, up more than 60% from a year ago when prices and demand bottomed out. The national average could exceed $ 3 a gallon this summer and even rise if hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast or if there are other supply disruptions, such as a refinery fire.
Shortages of ketchup – especially in the packages that often come with your take-out order – began to appear across the country last summer, and the plot thickened.
How did it happen? It started with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discouraging traditional on-site catering at restaurants and instead suggesting more pandemic-friendly options like delivery and take-out.
Suddenly, restaurants from coast to coast were packing up entrees, side dishes, and cold drinks for a regular series of people working from home whirling around in their cars. These customers were expecting condiments. These traditional restaurants therefore jumped into direct competition with fast food establishments, which had also closed their dining rooms and increased their orders of ketchup packages.
Demand and prices have increased and the supply has fallen. Heinz, the country’s largest ketchup producer, is at the epicenter of the problem and is taking action to address it. The company recently announced “a 25% increase in production, totaling 12 billion packets of ketchup… per year.”
As the pandemic crushed the U.S. economy last spring, sawmills halted lumber production to prepare for a housing collapse. The slump never happened and there is not enough wood left to fuel the burning housing market.
The shortage is delaying construction of badly needed new homes, complicating renovations to existing homes, and causing sticker shock to buyers in what was already a scorching market.
Random-length lumber futures hit a record high of $ 1,615 on Tuesday, a staggering seven-fold gain from the low in early April 2020. That’s a big deal because lumber is the commodity. more substantial than home builders are buying.
The good news is that industry executives expect lumber production to catch up with demand – eventually. Samuel Burman, deputy raw materials economist, predicted in a recent note to customers that there will be a “sharp drop” in lumber prices over the next 18 months.
As countries shift to green energy, demand for copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earths is skyrocketing.
But they are all vulnerable to volatility and price shortages, the International Energy Agency warned in a report released this week, as their supply chains are opaque, the quality of available deposits declines and mining companies. face stricter environmental and social standards.
Another risk factor is the limited access to known mineral deposits. Three countries together control more than 75% of the world’s production of lithium, cobalt and rare earths.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was responsible for 70% of cobalt production in 2019, and China produced 60% of the rare earth elements while refining 50% to 70% of lithium and cobalt, and nearly 90% of rare earth elements. Australia is the other powerful player.
In the past, mining companies have responded to increased demand by increasing their investment in new projects. But it takes an average of 16 years from the discovery of a deposit for a mine to start production, according to the IEA. Current supply and investment plans focus on “gradual and insufficient action on climate change,” he warned.
Steel is just the latest shortage to hit the U.S. economy as it recovers from a pandemic that has scrambled supply chains and triggered abrupt shifts in demand.
Like lumber, the steel industry has been caught off guard by the rapid recovery in demand that started last summer, particularly in the auto industry. “Suddenly people were buying a lot of cars,” Bank of America analyst Tanners said.
And it took a long time for aging US steel mills to resume production they had sharply reduced at the start of the pandemic. Steel inventories declined rapidly and deliveries were delayed, just as steel buyers began to order more than usual.
The good news, at least for steel buyers, is that analysts say all of the U.S. steel production capacity that had been idle during the pandemic has returned.
Chris Isidore, Paul R. La Monica, Matt Egan, Tom Foreman, Charles Riley, and Hanna Zlady of CNN Business contributed to this report.
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