RISING PRODUCER COSTS HURT PROFITS

Chineses media have mentioned that material costs are rising for many industries. US commodities have also risen suggesting a rise in finished goods is inevitable when profits get squeezed too much. Even coffee has risen over the last 12 months and your webmaster drinks lots of it.

The rising material costs are global in nature. Every industry is affected from automotive to telecommunications. Copper prices are making it more expensive to wire up homes on top of the high lumber prices.

One big driver for commodity prices rising is the large scale flood of cash into the global market. Inflation is driven by the amount of cash in the market. Tapering of the quantitative easing does not seem to be on the radar. So as long as more and more dollars are sloshing around prices will remain elevated. Hopefully prices are not running to Zimbabwe levels which suffered hyperinflation. Nobody has unlimited nominal spending power.

Housing prices have also risen as the flood of easy credit floods into the consumer market. So far however there has not been a repeat of the excesses of the alt-A period. Banks are also raising their dividends which will boost ETF earnings slightly.

In China a reverse migration of people into other smaller cities is driven by shy high costs. This has been noted in the US as well wherwork at home has allowed people to move to affordable regions. The rebalancing of housing costs and employment are driven by COVID-19 fears as much as financial pressures.

Retail sales have stagnated and online sales are also moving sideways. Consumer optimism is good but spending is reduced. Spending should rise once more people return to work in the US and EU etc.

So far not much economic activity has moved south of Mexico, central america is an economic basket case driven by US policies. Migrant caravans have often been in the media as employment prospects at home are nonexistent. Nicaguaga is about the only stable country central america. Panama is slightly more stable after Noriega was grabbed and jailed by the US.

Venezuela collapsed after Chavez died. The economy was very dependant on petrodollars. Almost 1 million Venezuelans migrated to Colombia who struggled to handle the huddled masses. Today Venezuela is a mess that nobody wants to fix. Ecuador seems to be holding on. Colombia is relatively stable with coffee and rubies as major exports. Chile is focused on mining and food production. Brazil is the strongest economy but corruption is brual. Argentina has been bankrupt since the war over the Falklands. Rest of the nations have problems even the UN cannot fix.

The middle east has been a wildcard of malcontent. Iraq is now producing oil again so the economy should rebound. Iran is a headache due to their constitutional theocracy. Afghanistan and Pakistan are both quieter. The US whacked Osama Bin Laden after finding him hiding in Pakistan.

Taiwan and some other Asian nations have recently had an uptick in COVID-19 starting around June 8. The drought in Taiwan is now over and TSMC said there is now less risk to production. Thailand also has had a recent uptick in COVID-19.