Lest you forget that the weather can throw a wrench into the economy, rubber trees in Asia have been getting rained on too much during the past year, meaning rubber products are going way up in price soon. The Financial Times describes the coming consumer pain:
The rubber price has tripled in two years, surpassing the record level set in 1952 when fears about the potential spread of the Korean War triggered panic buying.
That is putting pressure on manufacturers to raise prices or face lower margins. Major tyre companies including Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear and Continental have raised prices by 5-15 per cent this year – and some businesses have announced a further round of price increases.
Adam Glickman of Condomania, one of the largest speciality condom retailers in the US, said the price of condoms had risen 10-20 per cent in the past year and manufacturers were warning of further increases.
Pork, beef, and dairy are also expected to be more expensive in 2011, less so than tires, however. Also going up are XBox Live prices, shipment prices by UPS and FedEx, and most likely gold. The post office is trying to increase rates, too, but was shot down. In better news, natural gas has been down for a little while, so this winter’s heating bills might be lower.