- Futures contracts for corn are up 96% over the past year. Cotton and wheat have jumped 54% and 50%.
- Consumer-staple giants like Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble, and General Mills are raising prices.
- The Fed said on April 8 it wouldn’t allow a “substantial overshoot” of its inflation targets.
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Commodity prices have soared over the past 12 months, and consumers are about to start feeling the effects.
The meteoric rise for commodities is beginning to have an effect on consumer-staple companies. That’s leading them to pass rising costs on to consumers.
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey told CNBC on Monday that his company would raise prices for its products because of the increasing costs associated with higher commodity prices.
Leaders in the consumer-staple sector, including Kimberly-Clark, J. M. Smucker, Procter & Gamble, and General Mills, have also said they will be raising prices because of increasing costs for raw goods.
Prices on most of Kimberly-Clark’s North American products are set to jump by mid-to-high single digits by the end of June, according to CNBC reports.
J. M. Smucker raised its peanut-butter prices in August. CEO Mark Smucker told analysts in November that “it was very clear that we were experiencing cost pressure.”
General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening told investors on a March 24 earnings call that his company would also raise prices in the coming months amid inflation pressures.
“So I would start by saying that inflation is very broad-based, and it’s actually global. So we are seeing it across the globe, and it’s broad-based across commodities, across logistics, across things like aluminum and steel,” Harmening said.
The CEO added that his company would “use all of the tools” at its disposal, including and “price and mix,” to offset costs.
Procter & Gamble announced on Tuesday in its fiscal third-quarter results that it planned to hike prices for baby care, feminine care, and adult-incontinence products in September to respond to higher commodity costs.
The rising price of commodities, and now of consumer goods, has some experts and US senators worried about inflation.
Sen. Rick Scott wrote a letter to the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in March raising concerns about rising inflation and the central bank’s bond-buying program.
Powell has said he plans to maintain “easy-money” policies despite rising inflation over the past few months, but Reuters reported Tuesday that Powell wrote in a letter to Scott that he wouldn’t allow a “substantial overshoot” of inflation targets.
“We do not seek inflation that substantially exceeds 2 percent, nor do we seek inflation above 2 percent for a prolonged period,” Powell said in a five-page response to Scott’s March 24 letter.
If Powell does decide to raise interest rates to curb inflation, some experts say the markets may not be ready for the results.
Mohamed El-Erian, the president of Queens’ College, Cambridge, and chief economic adviser at Allianz, told Bloomberg in an April 9 interview that the US economy was unprepared for an interest-rate shock.