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"Rush To Hoard Food And Energy Supplies Intensify
As Panic Buying Frenzy Collapse Supply Chains"
by Epic Economist
"The 2022 panic buying frenzy just continues to get worse all over the world: As supply chain problems compound and transportation costs rise uncontrollably, consumers have been rushing to hoard food and energy supplies before more shortages emerge. In Russia, the middle class is wiping out store shelves at record speed as western sanctions disrupt shipping deliveries and push the price of everything to soar. Many nations in Europe are suffering from shortages of food and medicine, which is leading companies to ration food supplies to ensure inventories in an attempt to fight against panic-buying. Meanwhile, in America, gas prices have jumped to such absurd levels that drivers can not afford to panic buy anymore – some of them are resorting to gas theft instead.
Russians are now suffering with crushing inflation as the effects of western sanctions ripple through the economy and collapse the country’s currency. The markets have recently become overwhelmed with panic buyers emptying grocery stores and shopping malls. From medical devices to staple goods and electronics, shoppers are snapping up every valuable item on their reach as the rouble plunges in value. Prices of imported goods are already going through the roof. New cars made by foreign brands have experienced a 16 percent price surge over the past three weeks, according to the state statistics service, The price of TVs climbed 20 percent, while vacuum cleaners rose 17 percent, and smartphones 12 percent.
However, rich European countries aren’t immune to the disruptions brought on by the conflict. And consumers are already suffering, too. In a recent article published by the Financial Times, shoppers reported shortages of basic food supplies and medicine. With supply chain bottlenecks aggravating and the memory of shortages still fresh on their minds, after witnessing the effects of the sanitary outbreak on global trade, Europeans are now panic buying and stockpiling food as uncertainty over the duration of the global strife continues to rise.
Italy imports much of its wheat from eastern Europe and about 80 percent of its sunflower oil from Ukraine, as well as large amounts of corn used to feed animals. The country is now seeing shortages of bread and meat as well, while prices reach extraordinary levels. A loaf of bread currently costs up to €8 per kilo in Milan. In November, it would have cost an average of €4.25. “It’s ridiculous that bread, which has always been poor people’s food, has become a luxury item,” complained Di Leto, saying that she had stockpiled flour to bake her own and save money.
At the same time, food rationing is becoming the main alternative for German grocers coping with declining supplies. They’ve been recently forced to introduce purchase limits and ration some staples such as cooking oil.
In the U.S., Americans are panic-buying potassium iodide tablets. According to CNN, manufacturers of the medication in the U.S. have recorded rapidly depleted inventories recently in light of Russia's retaliation to Western sanctions. The enormous increase in demand has led some online sellers to price gauge customers looking to buy these pills. Packs that typically sell for around $14 are now on eBay for $150 - with the manufacturer's website listing them as out of stock. And it seems that U.S.-led sanctions imposed by the federal government on the Russian economy are also having huge consequences for American drivers. As the price of gasoline really spirals out of control, gas theft is on the rise, reported the AAA. In North Carolina, nearly 400 gallons of gas were stolen from a station this week. In Texas, a group of thieves stole over $5,000 worth of diesel fuel in a family-owned gas station in Houston.
These are definitely crazy times, and people are acting out of panic and desperation. As the price of gasoline continues to go up, this will probably encourage even more theft. People’s rush to hoard food and energy supplies will also make it more difficult for ordinary families to afford their grocery and energy bills. The world has effectively entered a full-blown energy and supply chain crisis, and we hope you are prepared for the new normal because we are about to see absolutely unprecedented things in the months ahead."
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