Global supply chains are creaking. Shortages of everything from raw materials to cars are nearing historic levels. Shipping rates have risen to multi-year highs, and consumers face delays and price increases that will stretch beyond the year-end holiday season. Much of the demand is in the U.S., where shoppers seem to have an endless appetite as the economy stages a comeback. Meanwhile, the supply is primarily in Asia, where many countries – chief among them China – still confront lockdowns and a rocky recovery out of the pandemic. That’s created tensions across global trade channels, manufacturing hubs and logistics networks. How companies and policy makers work through these challenges that are now weighing on growth will be critical. Bloomberg columnists Brooke Sutherland, Daniel Moss and David Fickling joined Tom Orlik of Bloomberg Economics to discuss where the pressure points are and factors at play, how industrial firms are responding, and for what consumers need to be prepared. Here are the edited highlights of their conversation, moderated by Bloomberg Opinion’s Anjani Trivedi.
Trivedi: All the demand is in the U.S., and much of the supply comes from Asia. What have you seen with shipping and logistics on the trade front?