Bakery products increased by 40 percent in Greece

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:

  • Bread prices rise sharply in Greece
  • Some types of bakery products increased by almost 40% due to the rise in the price of flour and electricity.
  • Raising prices started somewhere in September. There is a big increase in prices for everything. The last time it was about 10% about half a month ago. It started with a rise in prices for gasoline and natural gas, for transportation, and gradually everything grew.

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Inflation in the last year has us paying more for everything

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:

  • Price of Unleaded Gas Up 40.8% Under Biden; Used Cars Up 40.5%; Beef Up 16.0%
  • Between January 2021 and January 2022–President Joe Biden’s first year in office–the price of unleaded gasoline increased 40.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The price beef and veal products increased 16.0 percent, according to BLS. That included a 13.0 percent increase in the price of uncooked ground beef; a 17.1 percent increase in the price of uncooked beef steaks; and a 19.2 percent increase in the price of uncooked beef roasts.
  • The price of pork increased 14.1 percent.
  • The price of chicken increased 10.3 percent.

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As U.S. inflation hits 31-year high, banks assess risks and opportunities

By Matt Scuffham

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street banks are planning for a sustained period of higher inflation, running internal health checks, monitoring whether clients in exposed sectors could pay back loans, devising hedging strategies and counseling caution when it comes to deals.

U.S. consumer prices this month posted their biggest annual gain in 31 years, driven by surges in the cost of gasoline and other goods.

Senior bank executives have become less convinced by central bankers’ arguments that the spike is a temporary blip caused by supply chain disruption and are stepping up risk management.

Higher inflation is generally seen as a positive for banks, raising net interest income and boosting profitability. But if it jumps high too quickly, inflation could become a headwind, top bankers warn.

Goldman Sachs Chief Operating Officer John Waldron last month identified inflation as the No. 1 risk that could derail the global economy and stock markets.

JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon told analysts last month that banks “should be worried” that high inflation and high interest rates increase the risk of extreme price movements.

A sustained period of higher inflation would pose both credit and market risk to banks, and they are assessing that risk in internal stress tests, said one senior banker at a European bank with large U.S. operations.

Risk teams are also monitoring credit exposures in sectors most affected by inflation, another banker said. They include firms in the consumer discretionary, industrial and manufacturing sectors.

“We are very active with those clients, offering hedging protections,” said the banker, who asked not to be named as client discussions are confidential.

Clients that may need extra funding to get them through a period of higher inflation are being advised to raise capital while interest rates remain relatively low, the banker said.

“It’s still a very beneficial environment to be in if you need funding, but that won’t last forever.”

Investment bankers are also assessing whether higher inflation and monetary tightening could disrupt record deals and public offering pipelines.

“We expect a sustained period of higher inflation, and monetary tightening could slow the momentum in the M&A market,” said Paul Colone, U.S.-based managing partner at Alantra, a global mid-market investment bank.

Alantra is advising clients in the early stages of M&A discussions “to review the risks sustained inflation could bring to both valuation and business results,” Colone said.

Sales and trading teams, meanwhile, are taking more calls from clients looking to reposition portfolios, which are vulnerable to a loss in value. When inflation ran out of control in the 1970s, U.S. stock indices were hit hard.

“We’re seeing more interest from clients in finding some manner of inflation protection,” said Chris McReynolds, Barclays’ head of U.S. inflation trading.

Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, which are issued and backed by the U.S. government, are proving popular, he said. The securities are similar to Treasury bonds but come with protection against inflation.

Traders are also seeing demand for derivatives that offer inflation protection such as zero-coupon inflation swaps, in which a fixed rate payment on an investment is exchanged for a payment at the rate of inflation.

“People are realizing they have inflation exposure and it makes sense for them to hedge their assets and liabilities,” McReynolds said.

Banks with diversified businesses are likely to fare best during a sustained period of inflation, most analysts say.

They expect that a steepening yield curve will boost overall profit margins, while trading businesses can benefit from increased volatility and the strength of deals, and initial public offering pipelines mean investment banking activity will remain healthy.

But Dick Bove, a prominent independent banking analyst, takes a different view. He anticipates the yield curve will flatten as higher rates reduce inflation expectations, crimping profit margins.

“Perhaps for as long as 12 to 18 months, bank stock prices will rise,” he said. “At some point, however, if inflation continues to rise, the multiples on bank stocks will collapse and so will bank stock prices.”

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Soaring gasoline, food prices boost U.S. inflation; labor market tightening

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. consumer prices accelerated in October as Americans paid more for gasoline and food, leading to the biggest annual gain in 31 years, suggesting inflation could stay uncomfortably high well into 2022 amid snarled global supply chains.

Inflation pressures are also brewing in the labor market, where an acute shortage of workers is driving wages higher. The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 20-month low last week, other data showed on Wednesday.

High inflation is eroding the wage gains, adding to political risk for President Joe Biden, whose approval rating has been falling as Americans grow more anxious about the economy. The White House and the Federal Reserve, which views high inflation as transitory, have maintained that prices will fall once supply bottlenecks start easing.

“There is increasing evidence that inflationary pressures are broadening out, underlining that inflation will remain elevated for much longer than Fed officials expect,” said Andrew Hunter, a senior economist at Capital Economics.

The consumer price index jumped 0.9% last month after climbing 0.4% in September, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. The largest gain in four months boosted the annual increase in the CPI to 6.2%. That was the biggest year-on-year rise since November 1990 and followed a 5.4% increase in September.

The broad-based increase in prices last month was led by gasoline prices, which surged 6.1% after rising 1.2% in September. Food prices advanced 0.9%, with meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, cereals and bakery products becoming more expensive. But prices for alcoholic beverages declined. Rents increased a solid 0.4% and prices for both new and used motor vehicles rose.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI gained 0.6% after climbing 0.2% in September. The so-called core CPI jumped 4.6% on a year-on-year basis, the largest increase since August 1991, after being steady at 4.0% for two straight months. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the overall CPI shooting up 0.6% and the core CPI rising 0.4%.

U.S. stocks opened lower. The dollar rose against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury yields rose.

WORKER SHORTAGES

Inflation is heating up again as the economic drag from the summer wave of COVID-19 infections, driven by the Delta variant, fades and supply bottlenecks persist. Trillions of dollars in pandemic relief from governments across the globe fueled demand for goods, leaving supply chains overstretched.

The nearly two-year long pandemic has upended labor markets, causing a global shortage of workers needed to produce raw materials and move goods from factories to consumers. The government reported on Tuesday that producer prices increased strongly in October, reversing a slowing trend in the monthly PPI that had become entrenched since spring.

Though the Fed last week restated its belief that current high inflation is “expected to be transitory,” most economists are skeptical, also noting that wages are rising strongly as companies scramble for workers.

The U.S. central bank this month started reducing the amount of money it is injecting into the economy through monthly bond purchases. The Fed’s preferred inflation measure for its flexible 2% target increased 3.6% year-on-year in September.

With labor scarce, companies are holding on to their workers. In another report on Wednesday, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000 for the week ended Nov. 6.

That was the lowest level since the middle of March in 2020, when the economy almost ground to a halt under the onslaught of mandatory business closures aimed at slowing the first wave of COVID-19 infections. Claims, which have now declined for six straight weeks, are within striking distance of their pre-pandemic level.

The report was published a day early because the federal government is closed on Thursday for the Veterans Day holiday.

The government reported last Friday that the economy added 531,000 jobs in October, with annual wage growth the largest in eight months. The labor force is down 3 million from its pre-pandemic level, making it harder to fill the 10.4 million job openings as of the of August.

“Businesses facing labor shortages are likely retaining rather than laying off workers,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in White Plains, New York. “Even so, for the labor market, supply remains a constraint that is a headwind for the recovery for now.”

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Dan Burns and Andrea Ricci)

Gasoline, auto retailing boost U.S. producer prices

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. producer prices increased solidly in October, driven by surging costs for gasoline and motor vehicle retailing, suggesting that high inflation could persist for a while amid tight global supply chains related to the pandemic.

The Federal Reserve last week restated its belief that current high inflation is “expected to be transitory.” A tightening labor market as millions remain at home is adding to price pressures, which together with shortages of goods sharply restrained economic growth in the third quarter.

The Fed this month started reducing the amount of money it is injecting into the economy through monthly bond purchases.

“The acceleration in inflation may not fade as quickly as previously thought, particularly for businesses because of the global supply-chain issues,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “Elevated inflation is turning up the heat on the Fed but they haven’t shown signs of buckling as they will stomach higher inflation to get the labor market back to full employment quickly.”

The producer price index for final demand rose 0.6% last month after climbing 0.5% in September, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. That reversed the slowing trend in the monthly PPI since spring. In the 12 months through October, the PPI increased 8.6% after a similar gain in September.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the PPI advancing 0.6% on a monthly basis and rising 8.7% year-on-year.

More than 60% of the increase in the PPI last month was due to a 1.2% rise in the prices of goods, which followed a 1.3% jump in September. A 6.7% surge in gasoline prices accounted for a third of the rise in goods prices. There were increases in the prices of diesel, gas and jet fuel as well as plastic resins.

Wholesale food prices dipped 0.1% as the cost of beef and veal tumbled 10.3%. Prices for light motor trucks fell as the government introduced new-model-year passenger cars and light motor trucks into the PPI.

Exorbitant motor vehicle prices have accounted for much of the surge in inflation as a global semiconductor shortage linked to the nearly two-year long COVID-19 pandemic has forced manufactures to cut production, leaving virtually no inventory.

Services gained 0.2% last month after a similar rise in September. An 8.9% jump in margins for automobiles and parts retailing accounted for more than 80% of the increase in services. The cost of transportation and warehousing services jumped 1.7%, also reflecting snarled supply chains.

Surveys from the Institute for Supply Management this month showed measures of prices paid by manufacturers and services industries accelerating in October. Manufacturers complained about “record-long raw materials lead times, continued shortages of critical materials, rising commodities prices and difficulties in transporting products.”

Data on Wednesday is expected to showed strong gains in consumer prices in October, according to a Reuters survey of economists. Stocks on Wall Street retreated from record highs. The dollar was steady against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices rose.

PORT CONGESTION

There is congestion at ports and widespread shortages of workers at docks and warehouses. There were 10.4 million job openings as of the end of August. The workforce is down 3 million from its pre-pandemic level.

Worker shortages were underscored by a report from the NFIB on Tuesday showing almost 50% of small businesses reported job openings they could not fill in October.

Also on Tuesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell emphasized the U.S. central bank’s commitment to maximum employment, telling a virtual conference on diversity and inclusion in economics, finance and central banking that “an economy is healthier and stronger when as many people as possible are able to work.”

Wholesale prices of apparel, footwear and truck transportation of freight also rose last month as did the costs of food and alcohol retailing, hospital outpatient care as well as machinery, equipment parts and supplies.

Excluding the volatile food, energy and trade services components, producer prices shot up 0.4%. The so-called core PPI gained 0.1% in September. In the 12 months through October, the core PPI rose 6.2%. That followed a 5.9% advance in September.

Construction prices surged 6.6%, the largest gain since the series was incorporated into the PPI data in 2009.

“As companies feel the squeeze from higher energy and labor costs, as well as persistent logistics issues, producer price increases should be robust in the coming months,” said Will Compernolle, a senior economist at FHN Financial in New York.

Details of the PPI components, which feed into the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, excluding the volatile food and energy component, were mixed. The core PCE price index is the Fed’s preferred measure for its flexible 2% target. Healthcare costs increased 0.4%. Airline tickets rebounded 0.3%, but portfolio management fees dropped 2.2%.

Though the October CPI data is still pending, economists believed that the core PCE price index moved higher last month after increasing 3.6% year-on-year in September.

“For now, we think the core PCE price index will be up 3.8% year-on-year in October,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

U.S. demand for oil surges, depleting tanks in Oklahoma

By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Crude oil tanks at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage and delivery hub for U.S. crude futures are more depleted than they have been in the last three years, and prices of further dated oil contracts suggest they will stay lower for months.

U.S. demand for crude among refiners making gasoline and diesel has surged as the economy has recovered from the worst of the pandemic. Demand across the globe means other countries have looked to the United States for crude barrels, also boosting draws out of Cushing.

Analysts expect the draw on inventories to continue in the short-term, which could further boost U.S. crude prices <CLc1> that have already climbed by about 25% in the last two months. The discount on U.S. crude futures to the international Brent benchmark should stay narrow.

“Storage at Cushing alone has the potential to really rally the market to the moon,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.

Cushing stockpiles have dropped to 27.3 million barrels, the lowest since October 2018, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, or about half of where inventories were at this time a year ago.

Inventories have fallen because of a ramp-up in U.S. demand, which has encouraged domestic refiners to keep crude at home to provide fuel such as gasoline and distillates to U.S. consumers, said Reid I’Anson, senior commodity analyst at Kpler.

In addition, U.S. production has been slow to recover from declines seen in 2020. At the end of 2019, the nation was producing roughly 13 million barrels of oil per day (bpd), but in recent weeks has been less than 11.5 million bpd. At the same time, product supplied by refineries – a proxy for demand – is about just 1% below pre-pandemic peaks.

As a result, the spread between U.S. crude and Brent, has collapsed. The spread narrowed to roughly $1.09 a barrel this week from $4.47 earlier this month, which had been about the widest spread since May 2020.

In an additional sign of high short-term demand for U.S. crude, the premium for U.S. crude delivered this December versus December 2022 reached a high this week of $12.48 per barrel, most since at least 2014, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

In the next three months, Rystad Energy expects refinery runs in the United States to increase by 500,000 to 600,000 barrels per day. This would outpace production gains of 300,000-400,000 bpd, and keep the spread between the two benchmarks narrow.

“Only if OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) intervenes with more supply of crude or if COVID rears its ugly head again, curbing demand, this high volatility will come off,” said Mukesh Sahdev, senior vice president and head of downstream at Rystad Energy.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by David Gregorio and Marguerita Choy)

Biden tells Energy Dept.: use all tools to bring fuel to storm-hit areas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday he has directed the Department of Energy to use all tools, including the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), to keep gasoline flowing in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

“It’s important to know that the region hit by it (Ida) is a key center of our nation’s oil production and refining infrastructure…that’s why we’re not waiting to assess the full impact of the storm,” Biden said.

The strategic reserve has four major storage facilities, two in Texas and two in Louisiana, to deliver crude to nearby refineries for fuel production. It was developed in the 1970s after the Arab oil embargo spiked gasoline prices, but has been tapped recently after unusual fuel disruptions like hurricanes.

Ida cut through multiple U.S. regions, devastating parts of Louisiana. On Wednesday rains caused massive flooding in the U.S. Northeast.

Presidents can authorize loans of SPR oil, known as exchange agreements, to private companies. After 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, refineries borrowed 5.2 million barrels, repaid in early 2018 with interest.

Presidents can also direct the Energy Department to hold emergency sales of crude, such as in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

In 2014 the department also created the 1 million barrel Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve after Superstorm Sandy caused fuel shortages in the region.

Roughly 1.5 million barrels of daily offshore crude production is currently shut in, according to federal data from Wednesday. U.S. energy companies, prevalent along the Gulf Coast, were straining to get operations working again due to lingering loss of electrical power and other problems related to storm damage.

Biden noted that the Environmental Protection Agency approved emergency fuel waivers for Louisiana and Mississippi to increase the availability of gasoline. The EPA issued the waivers this week, allowing winter-grade fuel to be sold out of season to avoid shortages.

The SPR had 621.3 million barrels of crude in stock as of last week, according to the Energy Department, the lowest since August 2003, data showed.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Nandita Bose and Timothy Gardner in Washington; additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by David Gregorio)

Colonial Pipeline hit by network outage just days after hack shutdown

By Stephanie Kelly, Laura Sanicola and Jessica Resnick-Ault

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Colonial Pipeline is having network issues preventing shippers from planning upcoming shipments of fuel, the company said on Tuesday, just after the nation’s biggest fuel pipeline reopened after a week-long ransomware attack.

The disruption was caused by efforts by the company to harden its system as it restores service following the cyberattack, Colonial said, and not the result of a reinfection of its network. It did not say when the issue would be fixed, but said it was still delivering products scheduled by shippers.

Last week’s closure of the 5,500-mile (8,900-km) system was the most disruptive cyberattack on record, preventing millions of barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from flowing to the East Coast from the Gulf Coast.

Colonial has been using its shipper nomination system to schedule batches of fuel deliveries to bring flows back to normal. A prolonged network outage could prevent shippers from adding to or making changes to deliveries – which would hamper delivery across the U.S. southeast and east coasts just after the line reopened.

After the ransomware attack forced Colonial to shut its entire network, thousands of gas stations across the U.S. southeast ran out of fuel. Motorists fearing prolonged shortages raced to fill up their cars.

Colonial’s shipping nomination system is operated by a third party, privately-held Transport4, or T4, which handles similar logistics for other pipeline companies. T4 could not say when the issue would be fixed, and did not comment on whether its systems for other pipelines were affected.

As of Tuesday, more than 10,600 filling stations were still without fuel, according to tracking firm GasBuddy, down from more than 16,000 at the peak last week.

In North Carolina, one of the hardest-hit states, gas outages dropped below 50% on Tuesday, GasBuddy said. South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia all also had outages below 50%.

About 70% of gas stations in Washington, D.C., were still without fuel, down from around 90% over the weekend.

“The number of stations without gasoline is likely to drop under 10,000 today,” said GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan on Tuesday.

(Reporting By Stephanie Kelly, Laura Sanicola, Jessica Resnick-Ault and Devika Krishna Kumar; Editing by Franklin Paul, Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

Oil prices slip as Hurricane Laura makes Gulf Coast landfall

By Ahmad Ghaddar

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Thursday as a massive hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico made landfall in the heart of the U.S. oil industry, forcing oil rigs and refineries to shut down.

Brent crude futures for October, which expire on Friday, fell 50 cents, or 1.1%, to $45.14 a barrel by 1359 GMT. The more active November Brent contract was down 55 cents, or 1.2%, at $45.61 per barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 39 cents or 0.9% to $43 a barrel.

Hurricane Laura made landfall early on Thursday in southwestern Louisiana as a category 4 storm, one of the most powerful to hit the state, with forecasters warning it could push a wall of water 40 miles inland from the sea.

Oil producers on Tuesday had shut 1.56 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output, or 84% of the Gulf of Mexico’s production, evacuating 310 offshore facilities.

At the same time, refiners that convert nearly 2.33 million bpd of crude oil into fuel, and account for about 12% of U.S. processing, halted operations.

“Perhaps traders are waiting to see what the damage is but the limited impact so far may also just be a reflection of the current oil market dynamics. Temporary disruptions are easily covered,” OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said.

Oil prices also shrugged off U.S. crude inventory declines and signs that gasoline demand in the world’s biggest oil consumer were improving.

Crude oil stockpiles fell last week as exports soared the most in 18 months and refineries boosted production to the highest rate since March, Energy Information Administration data showed on Wednesday. Gasoline stocks also fell.

“It appears that the gasoline inventory reduction was due first and foremost to increased demand – gasoline demand rose to a six-month high of around 9.2 million bpd,” Commerzbank said.

(Additional reporting by Sonali Paul and Koustav Samanta; editing by Jason Neely)

Death toll in Mexico gasoline pipeline blast climbs to 94: officials

Residents look at pictures of people missing after an explosion of a fuel pipeline ruptured by oil thieves, in the municipality of Tlahuelilpan, state of Hidalgo, Mexico January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The number of people who died from a gasoline pipeline explosion in central Mexico last week has risen to 94, government officials said on Tuesday, from 91 reported a day earlier.

The explosion last Friday occurred as about 800 people in Hidalgo state’s Tlahuelilpan district were collecting gasoline that was gushing from a pipeline leak near a major refinery.

Central Mexico had been hard hit by gasoline shortages after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador launched a crackdown on fuel theft nearly a month ago, ordering pipelines closed in an effort to stamp out criminal activity.

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Bernadette Baum)