Global supply chain problems show signs of easing

Global supply chain issues are beginning to ease, but shipping, manufacturing and retail executives said normal operations may not resume until next year, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 21. 

Namely, in the U.S., major retailers reported they have imported most of what is needed for the holidays. In Asia, COVID-19-related factory closures, energy shortages and port-capacity limits have decreased. Ocean freight rates have also retreated from record levels.

A survey by Oxford Economics covering 45 economies found that almost all "country experts" surveyed believe supply chain disruptions have peaked or will peak in the last quarter of this year.

Executives and economists say despite the signs of easing, factors that may impede recovery include strong consumer demand for goods in the West, ongoing U.S. port congestion, shortages of truck drivers and elevated global freight rates. COVID-19 surges and extreme weather may also impact recovery.

"It’s a huge change in a positive way as it should improve industrial output in Asia and global supply," Trinh Nguyen, senior economist at Natixis in Hong Kong, told Wall Street Journal

"There are certain aspects of supply chain shocks that are easing, but the shortage issue isn't going to completely disappear," Ms. Nguyen added.

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