Aug 10, 2022 1 min, 12 secs
How rising prices turned up the heat on millions of Americans already reeling from the pandemic — and how they could cool off.

The pandemic’s unending freight costs, congested ports and labor shortages are being greeted by a war in Ukraine that’s pushed global oil, fertilizer and food prices further up.

Department of Agriculture sees food prices rising as much as 9.5% this year, the most since 1979.

Today, countries such as Australia and Brazil anticipate good years, which would offset the missing Ukrainian food exports and allow prices to drop.

Price increases have been surprisingly subdued, probably because prices paid by insurers (especially Medicare) were negotiated before inflation was front and center.

Providers will now seek to have their rising costs — from wages to equipment — covered, though so far insurers are balking at the demands, which could help limit inflation.

That will make it more expensive to borrow money, which will slow down demand and push down prices, but also hurt economic growth.

From dining out to attending concerts, ballooning bills reflect high production and transportation costs plus pent-up demand.

For restaurants, which don’t have much wiggle room to lower prices after boosting wages to lure reluctant workers back, automation and artificial intelligence could ease the staffing headache and enable more affordable menus?

Higher fuel prices are only partly to blame: It’s hard to see why airlines and hotels wouldn’t try to make up for business lost over the pandemic.


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