The Federal Reserve is going to meet February 1, and another rate hike is expected. It’s a delicate balancing game they are playing because The Fed is using data that takes months to accumulate, assimilate, analyze, and report, often inaccurate, and then are applying that out-of-date data to anticipate what is going to happen in the future, hiking interest rates guessing the effect it may or may not have barring unforeseen, unanticipated, unprecedented circumstances that are probably going to happen but might not. Finance is neither art nor science – it’s soothsaying, which is somewhere between prediction and prophecy.
But amid unreserved tumultuous uncertainty is an ancient inviolable rule that is absolute: the law of supply and demand.
Retail expert Rich Hollander, one of America's foremost retail experts, a former VP at Radio Shack, President at Cash America, President at Rent-a-tire, VP at Mastercard, and currently a Managing Partner at Axcelor, a consulting firm with a network of more than 40 retail executives, says if you want to know what lies ahead, go with the law of supply and demand. To slow the economy to lessen inflationary trends, the Fed has been raising rates so fewer homes will be built and the market will cool.
“Right now is a good time to buy appliances, because fewer houses are being built, but the appliances are still being built, so that law of supply and demand gets in there,” Hollander instructs. Because fewer homes are being built, he says, lumber prices are going down. There’s more supply than demand.
As prices have gone sky high, consumers have cut back. Corporate board rooms, who had been seeing unprecedented opportunities coming together with the government doling out trillions to consumers who had time on their hands to scroll down Amazon pages and buy, were jacking up prices. Why not? People were willing to pay the price, and the price of anything is always whatever the market will bear. Consumers had been willing to bear a whole lot, until we decided not to anymore because the prices were too high. Take heed. This is the time to be an intelligent and informed shopper.
But just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, Hollander intones, something will upset the apple cart, citing the price of eggs as the exception to everything else happening in retail. Prices are three times higher than last year. Is that because of supply or demand? Both. Bird flu, a certain strain of avian flu, a European problem, has come to our shores, and bird farms are having to cull their flocks, a gentle way of saying that are killing millions upon millions of egg-laying birds to keep the virus from wiping out the species. There are millions fewer egg-laying birds, and therefore, fewer eggs. Prices have never been this high. Throughout the two years of Covid-pandemic, supply chain issues made chicken wings extremely hard for restaurants to find, and outrageously expensive. Most restaurants were selling them at a loss. But this odd strain of bird flu ravaging chicken houses with the ferocity of a starving fox does not have any impact on the species of chickens that are produced for chicken tenders, chicken breasts, and chicken wings. The grocery prices for chicken meat are plummeting.
Supply and demand.