During the early stages of the Covid pandemic, supply chain disruptions due to plant shutdowns and widespread employee shortages resulted in price increases as demand rapidly outweighed supply. Consumers have remained burdened with high prices on most goods, and prognosticators are predicting that costs will remain high or continue to increase moderately for the foreseeable future.
It should come as no surprise that in light of COVID-19 related closures, e-commerce has become an ever more integral part of our daily lives. Retailers of household goods, groceries, essential items, as well as non-essential, have in trial by fire fashion been required to provide appropriate infrastructure to ensure said goods are made available for consumers nationwide. This not only requires robust technological platforms, but sophisticated distribution networks including delivery services and warehousing in near immediate fashion.
American importers pay a significant portion of the increase and US consumers pay the remainder due to the increase on goods manufactured in China. However, China’s economy is slowing, with consumers holding back and infrastructure spending slowing sharply. This slowdown is expected to worsen as America’s tariffs ramp up. On the other hand, the United States has continued to experience vigorous economic growth, including the lowest unemployment rate since 2000.
On May 10, 2019, talks with China ended abruptly; we saw the market tumble more than 600 points. This past Friday, President Trump responded by adding a 25% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods, substantially increasing the tariffs from their prior 10%.