53% of inflation was driven by profits not costs

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53% of inflation was driven by DEMAND not costs.

The Captain

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As usual, it depends upon what economist you talk to. From Andreas Hornstein at the Richmond Fed:

"Among the many accounts of this increase that have been introduced, one attributes the increase to firms being greedy and exploiting supply chain disruptions to raise their prices excessively. In this article, I first argue that a frequent piece of evidence in support of “greedflation” — the increased share of gross operating surplus in the nonfinancial corporate business (NFCB) sector — is not that informative about profits. I then construct an alternative measure of profits — the price-cost markup — using standard measures and show that its contribution to inflation in the NFCB sector was rather small…

“Following the greedflation commentary, one may get the impression that it is obvious what constitutes “profits.” But it is not that obvious from an economist’s perspective…”

DB2

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And lack of supply.
Apparently manufacturers have not yet recovered from the supply chain shock of COVID.

In February, suppliers around the world were “very close to full utilization,” according to GEP’s new survey of the production orderbooks of some 27,000 businesses. That’s a sharp departure from the idle and under-utilized factories that were so prevalent over the last several years.

Activity in North America was especially strong in February, for which the index showed “stretched” supplier capacity, as manufacturers boosted inventories in expectation of ramped-up production in the near term. It was the first time since March, 2023 that suppliers to North America had been in that situation, GEP noted, “with backlogs ticking higher as a consequence.” Weaker results were seen in Europe, which continues to suffer from some economic stress, and Asia, held back by sluggish demand in Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan. Nevertheless, the index found, Asia saw signs of inventory restocking and economic resilience region-wide.

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Some would say people had money to spend. So they spent it. Consumers were conditioned to expect higher prices. So suppliers got away with gouging. Raising prices far more than justified by cost increases.

Finally consumers seem to notice and are cutting purchases of over priced brand products. Buying more generics, etc.

Inflation maybe justified 10% increases two years in a row but many find prices up close to 50%.

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pauleckler

This. I held my tongue this morning on the subject due to an appointment to have my pacemaker/defibrillator checked, but this just proves what I said 2 yrs ago was right. Start shopping around the idea of “inflation.” Condition people to paying higher prices then … go fer it! So now we know less than 50% of price increases were due to inflation and the rest was just the purveyors saying JACK IT UP!

As far as supply and demand? I don’t want to dump on this one too much. Sometimes the media and allied analytical types get it right. But really. Covid was 4 years ago. It’s been 2 years, at least, since we started getting revved up again. It’s a 21st Century worldwide, technified, economy. And they’re still crying they can’t keep up? People haven’t had so much money they could break the system. It’s not Germany after the world wars. It’s not San Francisco after the 1906 quake. It’s just so much whining and excuses everywhere for stuff they should be doing as easy as falling off a log.

On a happier note… Today I got to take my first two Uber rides. ('Cause a metro with a million people in it doesn’t have any functioning cab companies!) Nice experiences. Nice prices. At least I didn’t think it was excessive, scammy, or not worth the price. I don’t own any Uber except maybe as a component of the SPY.

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Some would say that people used credit to spend on the things they were conditioned to buy.

With higher interest rates on debt and prices remaining high, it’s no wonder people don’t feel better about the economy.

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Another echo of the 80s. RS started jacking prices up in the late 80s, particularly on small parts. There was minimal, usually zero, increase in cost to the store, but a ten or twenty percent increase in the selling price. If you knew what you were doing, you could go elsewhere and get a serviceable part for half what RS charged. If you had to be taken by the hand and lead to the part you needed, you were stuck going to RS, and wow did you pay for it.

Steve

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Safeway has a 1/2 gal of milk on sale this week for $1 – that’s pre-pandemic pricing, but eggs are still 160% more.

intercst

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When politics and economics mix it smells like rotten eggs. The link is from November of last year.
https://indianacapitalchronicle.com/briefs/jury-finds-senate-candidates-family-owned-company-price-gouged-eggs/#:~:text=An%20Illinois%20jury%20found%20on,—%20Cal-Maine%20Foods%20Inc.

An Illinois jury found on Tuesday that several companies, including one co-owned by a U.S. Senate candidate from Indiana, conspired to restrict the supply of eggs to drive up the prices.

Rose Acre Farms Inc. — previously chaired by John Rust, who is running to succeed U.S. Sen. Mike Braun — Cal-Maine Foods Inc. and two egg-industry groups will have to pay damages to General Mills Inc., a Kraft Heinz Co. unit, Kellogg Co. and Nestle SA. The same jury will determine the damages to be awarded in a trial scheduled to begin on Nov. 29, as reported by Bloomberg.

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source: Egg Prices Adjusted for Inflation | US Inflation Calculator

I guess how high the price has gone depends on your starting point.

Mike

It depends on your skill as a grocery shopper. For years I never paid more than 99 cents for a half gallon of milk or a dozen eggs, and sometimes got them as low as 49 cents. That ended in 2000 with the Covid pandemic.

intercst

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Ah, an early adopter. :slightly_smiling_face:

DB2

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Re: Inflation

Aldi in my area is offering ground beef (73% lean) for $2.39/lb this week. That’s the lowest I have seen in over a year. Prices seem to be headed down. Progress. Slow. Steady?

After Nixon’s price freeze sellers are reluctant to cut “list” prices. Instead they are more likely to offer things “on sale.”

Meanwhile meat processors like Tyson are closing plants due to declining volumes and prices. And ranchers complain they can no longer afford land due to rising land prices (often driven up by “weekend” ranchers and farmers).

Ah yes, the economy. Too big to get your arms around because everyone everywhere responds by making their own “best” choices.

27% fat :interrobang:

And Aldi is making you pay for it as food.

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Fat free beef is a bit of an oxymoron. Maybe Beyond Beef is your preference.

Beef fat known as tallow is quoted every day in the Wall Street Journal. Some find it useful–traditionally for candles.

Pork fat known as lard oil, pressed from lard, is a traditional lubricant used to oil machinery long before petroleum.

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Your historical reference are true but are no longer applicable. Do you sell your tallow or lard to the collector in their wagon?

Today these fats go straight into the consumer’s guts, down the drains, or into the garbage.

I don’t know but its a good bet that quite a bit of that animal gets used to make biodiesel. And there are plans to convert it into green jet fuel. Probably supplies are insufficient for all possible fuel uses.

Whereever fats can be collected efficiently, that is often the end use.

Tallow used to be the fat used to fry McDonald’s french fries. Deep fryer fat is a valued resource to many. A green fuel that recycles carbon dioxide.

Same in Venezuela. Regulators usually refer to the current list price or MSRP for guidance.

The Captain

Health Implications of Beef Intramuscular Fat Consumption

Literature suggests that the marbling is more complex than the development of subcutaneous fat and marbling not only provides good fatty acids but also contributes to the higher eating quality of beef.

The Captain