We are seeing the cascading impacts of the energy-driven inflation starting to ripple throughout the globe, specifically worsening economies who are dependent on the export of non-essential durable goods. South Korea manufacturing is the latest example.
The first quarter of 2022 started with a drop in U.S. consumer spending on non-essential durable goods like electronics. The net result of contracted consumer spending was a 1.6% negative GDP.
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Inventories of goods started to build and by April/May of 2022 the Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed negative inflation in those sectors as discounts to move inventory were offered.
In June major manufacturer Samsung, headquartered in South Korea, announced they had told suppliers to stop sending component manufacturing parts for finished goods. (link)
By the end of July, the second quarter GDP in the U.S. again showed a contraction of 0.9%. Energy inflation was now creating a consumer spending recession, demand for non-essential goods dropped fast over the first half of the year.
Today, South Korea announces July manufacturing output contracted for the first time in two years, matching the prior announcement by Samsung:
SEOUL, Aug 1 (Reuters) – South Korea’s factory activity shrank in July for the first time in nearly two years, as output and new orders weakened amid continued inflation and supply chain woes, a private-sector survey showed on Monday.
The S&P Global purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to a seasonally-adjusted 49.8 in July from 51.3 in June, falling below 50 for the first time since September 2020. The 50-mark separates expansion from contraction in factory activity from a previous month.
Output fell for a fourth straight month and by the sharpest rate since October 2021, as new orders decreased for the first time in 22 months and those from overseas for the fifth month in a row. (read more)
All economies that are dependent on the manufacturing and export of durable goods are likely now seeing reduced factory outputs as fewer customers exist to purchase the final product. This will lead to a predictable rise in unemployment amid those same nations.
This situation is the reason why the Bank of Japan did not raise their central bank interest rates. They are attempting to offset the drop in global economic activity by keeping their currency value low as compared to the rest of the western countries. This will help move their exported goods at a discount.
Inside countries with large imports, the definition of “non-essential” purchases within each household now starts to shift. Upgrading electronics, jewelry purchasing, and other non-essential goods become the first to feel the impact. That contraction is then followed by appliances, furniture, clothing and eventually vehicles and high-cost durable goods.
As less and less disposable income is available, consumer spending gets increasingly prioritized. The service sector is likely starting to feel the consumer belt tightening, particularly those consumer goods and services that are dependent on middle class families.
Inflation in general is a corrosive issue that eats away at the ability of consumers to purchase products and services. Energy inflation is particularly damaging as it hits every sector of the economy with higher supply-side costs. Food prices, fuel, transportation costs, electricity rates etc. take a larger portion of the paycheck, leaving less room (if any) for non-essential purchases.
A shrinking global economy is the outcome of an intentionally managed decline to support the Build Back Better, climate change, agenda.