LONDON: Global product shortages are starting to push up prices as consumers are forced to pay more and wait longer for everyday items.
The latest IHS Markit Dubai Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) highlights a surge in input price inflation in recent weeks “driven by mounting input shortages, restocking efforts by companies and an intensification of global supply delays.” It reported the largest rise in prices in the emirate in 28 months.
It is part of a global trend as the world’s manufacturing engines struggle to keep pace with accelerating consumer demand pushing up prices from hardware stores to garages.
Builders merchants from the US and Europe have started to flag shortages of materials that are already adding to the cost of new homes.
The UK’s Builders Merchants Federation and the Construction Products Association have warned that building material shortages are likely to get worse, especially for timber, steel and roof products.
They said concrete tiles are now taking as long as 36 weeks to be delivered, forcing some projects to be redesigned to use products in better supply.
Timber prices are also being driven by surging demand from the US construction sector, where prices have already jumped by around 150 percent over the last year.
Containers that previously cost $2,100 at this time last year are now costing between $15,000 and $30,000, the trade bodies said.
The Gulf states, which rely heavily on imports that arrive in such containers, are feeling the impact as prices climb and delivery times lengthen.
“We are seeing supply constraints impact on economic activity, and it is also impacting on inflation,” Doug Bitcon, Rasmala Investment Bank’s head of credit strategies, told Bloomberg TV on Monday.
He shared his experience of trying to buy a set of new tires for his vehicle in Dubai this weekend. He was only able to source a set made in 2020 but still had to pay full price.
“This is just one example of the supply constraints you are seeing in the PMI numbers for Dubai,” he said. “This is just the start of what we are going to see in economies around the world.”
China factory gate prices are now running at more than a two-year-high according to March data, while the latest US inflation data is expected on Tuesday.
“We are set to see the first evidence of the much anticipated surge in inflation that is widely expected through the coming months as base effects from a year ago begin to take effect as the sharp declines post-COVID start to fall out of the annual calculations,” said MUFG analysts.