A Nation of Inflation soars to crisis levels

Rev 6:6 NAS “And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Inflation Nation: Gas Hits New Record High as Cost of Living Soars to Crisis Levels
  • According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is hitting a new record high at $4.37, up 23 cents from last month. Some analysts predict an average price as high as $4.50 by summer.
  • And it’s not just fuel.
  • According to the latest Consumer Price Index report, food-at-home prices have risen 10 percent in the last 12 months, marking the largest 12 month increase since 1981. Prices for meat and eggs increased more than 13 percent over the last year, while beef rose 16 percent. What’s more, the USDA predicts grocery store prices will jump another five to six percent this year.
  • On Wall Street, stocks deepened their losses Monday, sending the S&P 500 to its lowest close in more than a year.

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David Rubenstein says: “Could take a couple of years” to bring inflation under control

Rev 6:6 NAS “And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Inflation Nation: Experts warn rising prices are here to stay
  • President Biden, press secretary Jen Psaki, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen all suggested last year that inflation would be temporary.
  • Biden was spotted laughing Saturday at the White House Correspondents Dinner when comic Trevor Noah joked that he didn’t get why the president got so much criticism, since under him everything is “up.”
  • “You know, I think ever since you’ve come into office, things are really looking up. Gas is up. Rent is up. Food is up. Everything,” Noah said.
  • Billionaire investor David Rubenstein; however, said that Americans should be worried about inflation. Inflation, as we all know, when it gets in the system, it’s very hard to get it out. It takes a long time to get it out, can take a couple of years,”
  • The Milken Institute chief economist Bill Lee predicted inflation would be “well over 3.5%” for the next five years, after which he said it would begin to wane.

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Sri Lanka Economic Crisis some calling “A mini Arab Spring”

Rev 6:6 NAS And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Sri Lanka’s cabinet has resigned en masse during economic crisis
  • There have been new calls today for both the president and prime minister to step down after the entire Cabinet resigned on Sunday.
  • Shortages of food, medicine and fuel have sparked countrywide protests, and security forces have fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters marching on the president’s home.
  • Vandana Menon, a reporter with The Print, says “I’ve never seen total unity like this before. It’s like a mini Arab Spring in Sri Lanka.”
  • Oh, there’s a huge fuel crisis, and you can see vehicles queuing up at petrol stations. Hospitals have had to stop surgeries last week because of power cuts and shortages of medicines.

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Beijing concerned about civilian casualties but vowed to continue normal trade with Russia

Revelations 6:3-4 “ when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • China considers buying stakes in Russian energy, commodity firms
  • China is considering buying or increasing stakes in Russian energy and commodities companies, such as gas giant Gazprom PJSC and aluminum producer United Co. Rusal International PJSC, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Any deal would be to bolster China’s imports as it intensifies its focus on energy and food security — not as a show of support for Russia’s invasion in Ukraine — the people said.
  • Worried about the impact surging prices will have on the economy, China’s top government officials issued orders to prioritize commodities supply security, Bloomberg reported last week.

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The Breadbasket of Europe Russia/Ukraine War Escalates Cost at the Store

Rev 6:6 NAS And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will likely ratchet American food prices even higher, experts say
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could push U.S. food prices even higher, as the region is one of the world’s largest producers of wheat and some vegetable oils. And the disruptions could drag on for months or even years, as crop production in the area could be halted and take a long time to restart.
  • This week’s events “are proof that this will be a multiyear issue,” said Michael Swanson, Wells Fargo’s chief agricultural economist. “It’s my assumption that Ukrainian crops won’t get planted, or not anywhere near what they typically plant. And the Russian crops will be planted but will be embargoed in many markets. This is not something that will be resolved in weeks or months.”
  • “There will be a disruption; there is already a blockade on Black Sea ports,” she said. “In the near term this should have an impact on European Union wheat shipments, then it will have an impact on the U.S.”
  • Ukraine is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of both corn and wheat. It is also the world’s largest exporter of sunflower seed oil, an important component of the world’s vegetable oil supply. Together, Russia and Ukraine supply 29 percent of all wheat exports and 75 percent of global exports of sunflower oil, said Kelly Goughary, senior research analyst Gro-Intelligence, an agriculture data platform.

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Breaking records Inflation highest since 1982

Rev 6:6 NAS And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • US inflation soared 7% in past year, the most since 1982
  • Ayers and other economists say prices may cool off some as snags in the supply chain ease, but inflation will remain elevated throughout 2022
  • Rising prices have wiped out the healthy pay increases that many Americans have been receiving, making it harder for households, especially lower-income families, to afford basic expenses
  • Used car prices have soared more than 37% over the past year
  • Clothing costs rose 1.7% just in December, its second month of sharp increases, and are up 5.8% from a year ago.
  • Gas 50% higher than a year ago.
  • Many restaurants have been passing along higher labor and food costs onto their customers

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More people plan to leave the work force or move in to a different field

Rev 6:6 NAS And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Nearly a quarter of workers plan to quit in 2022, report shows
  • Roughly 23% of those surveyed last month said they want to quit this year.
  • Another 9% have already found a new job, and an additional 9% said they’ll retire this year.
  • Most of those resignations are happening in the retail, food and hospitality industries, according to the report.
  • Time and time again, remote tech work has proven to be hugely popular and will likely continue to grow in 2022.
  • A third want to switch to industries including IT, media and communications, and business and finance.

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As conflict stalks Burkina Faso borderlands, hunger spreads

By Anne Mimault

DORI, Burkina Faso (Reuters) – Suspended from scales in a bucket, nine-month-old Sakinatou Amadou gripped the sides of her makeshift container as a nurse at a small clinic in northern Burkina Faso checked on her recovery from malnutrition.

Sakinatou’s mother is dead and she is being raised in Dori, a trading hub near the Niger border, by her grandmother, whose family of 14 have struggled to support themselves since they fled their village in 2019.

They are among more than 2 million people across Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger who have been forced from their homes by a wave of attacks on rural communities by Islamist groups.

With crop yields further compromised by erratic rainfall, some 5.5 million in the three countries on the edge of the Sahara are facing food shortages, a figure the U.N. estimates could rise to 8.2 million by August, when food is most scarce before the harvest.

“People have lost animals, fields and sometimes crops. They have lost everything,” said doctor Alphonse Gnoumou, who runs the health center in Dori that has helped Sakinatou to gain weight.

The town’s once bustling livestock market has shut down due to the violence. Transporting food in the area is dangerous and prices have skyrocketed, said Kadidiatou Ba, who sells vegetables and dried goods from a roadside shack.

“Everything has gone up. We used to pay 40,000 CFA francs ($68) for a sack of beans, now we’re at 75,000,” she said as she waited for customers.

Meanwhile Dori’s population has nearly tripled in two years to 71,000 and the influx of displaced people threatens to overwhelm meagre local services.

Three or four children cram behind each desk at a local school, which aims to feed each pupil a bowl of rice and beans so they can have at least one square meal per day.

“These were very traumatized kids. When they first came with their parents, we saw an indescribable sadness in them,” said head teacher Bokum Abdalaye, as children played in the schoolyard behind him.

“When they see they have a midday meal that they can share with the others, that helps them settle in.”

($1 = 584.3400 CFA francs)

(Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Edward McAllister and John Stonestreet)

U.S. consumer prices post biggest annual gain in more than 39 years

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer prices rose further in November amid strong gains in the cost of food and a range of other goods, leading to the largest annual increase in more than 39 years and potentially giving the Federal Reserve ammunition to quickly wind down its bond purchases.

The report from the Labor Department on Friday followed on the heels of a slew of data this month showing a rapidly tightening labor market. With supply bottlenecks showing little sign of easing and companies raising wages as they compete for scarce workers, high inflation could persist well into 2022.

The increased cost of living, the result of shortages caused by the relentless COVID-19 pandemic, is hurting President Joe Biden’s approval rating. High inflation and a strengthening economy have raised the risk of an early Fed interest rate increase.

“The biggest problem for the Fed is the mounting evidence of a strong pick-up in cyclical price pressures,” said Paul Ashworth, chief economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.

“Although we think headline inflation has now peaked, it will decline only gradually over the first half of next year and, crucially, because of that building cyclical pressure we expect core inflation to remain above the Fed’s target for a prolonged period.”

The consumer price index rose 0.8% last month after surging 0.9% in October. The broad-based increase was led by gasoline prices, which rose 6.1%, matching October’s gain. With crude oil prices declining recently, gasoline prices have likely peaked.

Food prices rose 0.7%. The cost of food at home increased 0.8%, driven by increases in the price of fruits and vegetables, meat and cereals and bakery products. It also cost more to eat away from home.

In the 12 months through November, the CPI accelerated 6.8%. That was the biggest year-on-year rise since June 1982 and followed a 6.2% advance in October.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast that the CPI would climb 0.7% and increase 6.8% on a year-on-year basis.

TIGHTENING LABOR MARKET

The government reported last week that the unemployment rate fell to a 21-month low of 4.2% in November. Tightening labor market conditions were underscored by a report on Thursday showing new applications for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in more than 52 years last week.

Other data this week showed there were 11 million job openings at the end of October and Americans quit jobs at near-record rates.

“With supply shortages likely to stick around until next year and service-sector prices trending higher, inflation is going to get worse before it gets better,” said Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said the U.S. central bank should consider speeding up the winding down of its monthly bond purchases at its policy meeting next week. Many economists are expecting an early Fed interest rate increase.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI rose 0.5% last month after gaining 0.6% in October. The so-called core CPI was supported by rents, with owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence, which is what a homeowner would receive from renting a home, rising a solid 0.4%.

Prices for used cars and trucks increased 2.5% for a second straight month. New motor vehicle prices rose 1.1%, marking the eighth consecutive month of gains. A global semiconductor shortage has undercut motor vehicle production.

Airline fares rebounded 4.7%. But further increases are unlikely following the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which could make some people hesitant to travel by air. The United States is already experiencing a resurgence in coronavirus infections, driven by the Delta variant.

The so-called core CPI jumped 4.9% on a year-on-year basis, the largest rise since June 1991, after increasing 4.6% in the 12 months through October.

The Fed tracks the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, excluding the volatile food and energy components, for its flexible 2% inflation target. The core PCE price index surged 4.1% in the 12 months through October, the most since January 1991. Data for November will be released later this month.

“A continued trend higher in core inflation creates further hawkish risks for a Fed that has recently become more focused on the inflation side of its mandate, and suggests a rising likelihood of an even earlier first rate hike,” said Veronica Clark, an economist at Citigroup in New York.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao)