The president said those fears would prove to be largely unfounded, saying his administration’s actions had progressed to clear port backlogs and make it easier to get more cargo to market at a time when Black Friday sales have surged. by a third compared to the previous year.
He cited comments and commitments from a wide range of retail executives he met at the White House on Monday to discuss inflation and supply issues, saying physical and online retailers l ‘had ensured they were well prepared for a spending rush.
“These shelves are going to be stocked,” Biden said.
Mr Biden also pointed to a slight improvement on price spikes that have depressed consumer confidence and its approval ratings, including increases for food, appliances and gasoline. He said his decision last week to release 50 million barrels of oil from the country’s emergency reserves had already started to lower oil prices around the world and would soon bring relief at the pumps.
The sharp drop in prices in recent days is not due to the release of reserves, coordinated with several other countries, but fears that Omicron will once again depress driving and other demands for oil as it pushes down the road. affects the global economy.
Companies continue to struggle to overcome supply chain delays. According to a new index released by Flexport, a global forwarder, shipping times from Asia to the United States and from Asia to Europe remain at or near record levels, and double what they were in March 2019.
An increase in the Omicron variant could lead to further delays, if ports and factories close, and warehouses and trucking companies find it even more difficult to find staff. This year, China closed some of its busiest ports after small outbreaks of the virus as it sought to quickly contain its spread.
Health experts have yet to determine the answers to crucial questions about the variant’s behavior, including whether it might prove to be more adept at evading vaccines, which in turn would determine how well it might curb the spread. growth or affect inflation. Analysts have warned in recent days that this throws further uncertainty into their forecasts.