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Published On: Thu, Mar 15th, 2018

Five Things Likely to Get More Expensive in 2018

Today’s economy is a global economy. No longer to countries run independently from one another; markets are networked and connected like never before. A poor wheat crop in the U.S. can cause hunger and price hikes in the Middle East, for example. Or a cobalt shortage in Africa can cause the price of electronics to surge in the U.S. and E.U (if it doesn’t stop the manufacturing of certain products altogether).

Case in point: When Panama Disease hit and Central America in the 1950s, the entire world had to adopt to a new species of banana, one that could resist the devastating effects of the disease so plantations could produce new fruit.  Like bananas, global products are not immune to even the smallest changes in the economic environment. Recent economic policies have U.S. markets prepared for a price hike for common steel and aluminum products. This includes everything from cars to beer cans (and everything in between); if it requires the use of these metals, prices will likely rise.

Yet aluminum and steel are far from the only materials being impacted by geo-political tensions.

photo/ public domain photos via pixabay

Here’s a look at six other products likely to see significant price changes in 2018.

Gas

U.S. consumers shouldn’t expect to see any relief at the pump, at least not anytime soon. According to AAA, more than half of the country is likely to see a significant spike in the average cost for a gallon of unleaded gasoline.

This year “has seen fluctuating crude oil prices, strong gasoline demand and new U.S. oil production records creating a volatile gas price market from month to month for consumers,” Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokeswoman, said. “Typically, March brings more expensive pricing as days get longer, weather gets warmer and refinery’s gear up to switchover to pricier summer blends.”

photo/ Pete Linforth

Chocolate

Sorry, candy lovers. The world’s supply of cocoa is dwindling. The culprit? Global warming is likely causing temperature changes in the areas of the globe where cocoa is most often produced, which isn’t a very expansive area to begin with. The bean is mostly cultivated in tropical rainforest near the equator. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rising temperatures are likely to blame. On top of that, political tensions between multiple countries, including China, Russia, and the U.S., all of which have a stake on the African continent, could add to pressures on the labor force.

Food

Love meat and dairy? Get ready to pay up. U.N. food agency data shows food prices are up 17 percent from a low set in early 2016, with no signs of slowing down. Analysts say there has been a growing global demand for meat, one so strong that demand has outpaced most other major food commodity groups, according to U.N. data. Plus, many countries, including the U.S., have tightly regulated laws defining the importing and exploring of animal products. With tensions with various meat-produting countries, those regulations are likely to tighten in the coming years.

Household Goods

Imagine a world in which a roll of toilet paper could end up breaking the bank…

A recent spike in the price to produce toilet paper in Taiwan caused panic to a point where lines formed outside of local grocery stores as people snapped up toilet paper and paper towels in bulk. The mess began on February 23rd when, according to The Economist, Taiwanese retailers, including several supermarket chains, said that toilet-paper producers would increase prices by as much as 30 percent in March because the cost of raw pulp had gone up.

Is it likely to impact the U.S.? Probably not. But if there is indeed a significant rise in the price of raw pulp, consumers could wind up paying more for toilet tissue, paper towels, paper plates, and other paper products. By how much is really anybody’s guess at the moment.

photo courtesy pearlsonly

Jewelry

Your gold and silver are probably safe, as global commodities prices continue to decline. But if you’re a fan of gemstones, particularly anything produced in Asia, you’re likely going to have to shell out some more dough.

Political uncertainty in the South China sea has forced the price of pearls up significantly. Leon Rbibo, who runs two of the top pearl websites in the U.S., The Pearl Source and Laguna Pearl, says military escalations in this part of the world can drive costs up “literally overnight,” since a large portion of the world’s favorite gemstone is imported from this area. Add to that the implications of Brexit, which is destabilizing world currencies, and you have a recipe for higher costs.

Bourbon (and Other U.S.-Produced Spirits)

New U.S. tariffs have other countries considering raising duties of their own. The European Union could choose to retaliate by going after peanut butter, orange juice, cranberries, and yes, even that world-famous Kentucky bourbon.

The European Union is the first trade partner to offer specific steps and products if the U.S. is to proceed with certain proposed tariffs, including on steel. Canada has also promised countermeasures. And Mexico, China and Brazil are said to be weighing options.

Author: Click Tech Tips

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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