US manufacturers’ supply chains are increasingly strained, as a rapid recovery in goods demand combined with lingering pandemic-related constraints on international transport services has pushed delays in supplier deliveries to their highest level in over 40 years. As a result, a significant majority of manufacturing firms currently indicate that supply chain disruptions and delivery delays are negatively affecting production.
These supply challenges have significantly increased international shipping costs—particularly along routes from East Asia to the US, where shipping container prices have roughly tripled over the last year—and some of these cost increases will likely be passed on to consumers.
However, we expect a fairly limited impact on overall consumer prices for two reasons. First, shipping costs outside of East Asia have seen much smaller price increases. Second, total shipping costs represent only a small share of the final price of goods. As a result, we estimate that elevated shipping costs are currently boosting year-over-year core consumer price inflation by slightly less than 10bp.
Unfortunately, supply chain disruptions are unlikely to abate in the near term and will continue to put upward pressure on consumer prices for the rest of this year: fiscal stimulus will keep goods demand elevated and the virus will continue to disrupt the supply of international goods transport services. However, by early next year, we think that shipping bottlenecks are likely to resolve themselves and prices will moderate, turning the boost to core inflation into an outright drag.
The manufacturing sector recovered relatively quickly from the pandemic, as factories were able to adapt and remain open despite elevated virus cases, and elevated fiscal support and limited opportunities to spend on services pushed up demand for goods. But the manufacturing recovery has encountered headwinds recently from increasingly strained supply chains. Last month, delays in supplier deliveries across a number of business surveys reached their highest level on record (Exhibit 1).
Several of the regional Federal Reserve banks’ business surveys have asked specific questions about supply chain disruptions in the last few months. Exhibit 2 shows that a majority of manufacturing firms report that supply chain disruptions are currently negatively affecting production. Additionally, 38% of businesses in the Atlanta Fed’s survey reported that supplier delays were moderate to severe, while 49% of Dallas Fed respondents reported that disruptions had meaningfully raised input prices. In the NY Fed’s Empire Manufacturing Survey, 59% of respondents reported finding new suppliers due to supply chain disruptions, while 58% reported that they had started building extra inventories. Overall, these measures suggest that supply chain disruptions are significantly impacting business operations.
To better understand the cause of supply chain disruptions, in Exhibit 3 we summarize recent media reports on disruptions. One striking feature of these reports is that supply chain disruptions are very widespread. Although the semiconductor shortage and its drag on auto production has garnered significant attention, many other consumer goods—from headphones to sofas to roller skates—have also faced supply challenges this year.
Although supply shortages have affected a wide variety of products, in most cases the root causes are the same. First, manufacturers were caught off guard by a faster-than-anticipated recovery in demand and hadn’t ordered enough inputs in advance to meet production needs. Second, the increase in goods demand while transportation services are limited by the virus has led to an undersupply of shipping containers and congestion problems at West Coast ports, resulting in lengthy shipping delays. Neither of these problems should abate soon, unfortunately, since fiscal support for household income should keep goods demand elevated and the virus should continue to disrupt the supply of international goods transport services until widespread inoculation in the US and its trade partners normalizes both goods demand and supply.
The good news is that because supply challenges are largely driven by transportation and not production constraints—unlike last spring when supplier delays spiked due to factory shutdowns that halted the supply of intermediate goods—we expect that supply constraints will put upward pressure on prices but have less of an impact on real economic activity. As examples of how some importers and manufacturers have alleviated bottlenecks at higher costs, some companies have started importing bike parts and hot tubs by air rather than sea freight, and other producers have started rerouting imports through alternate ports (Exhibit 3).
That said, bottlenecks can substantially increase transport costs in strained trade routes. As shown in Exhibit 4, shipping costs from China to the US have roughly tripled over the last year. This will likely put upward pressure on consumer prices as manufacturers pass these costs on to consumers.
However, the impact on consumer prices is likely to be muted compared to the huge increases in certain shipping costs, for two reasons. First, shipping costs outside of East Asia have seen much smaller increases. For example, domestic transportation costs according to the Producer Price Index – which make up roughly three-fourths of total shipping costs for manufactured goods – are up just 1.6% relative to pre-virus levels. Second, total shipping costs represent only a small share of the final price of a good. Using information from the World Input-Output Tables, we estimate that shipping costs make up less than 3% of the final cost of manufacturing output, implying that international shipping costs make up less than 1%.
Taken together, we estimate that elevated shipping costs are currently boosting year-over-year core consumer price inflation by roughly 9bp (Exhibit 5). Our transportation analysts expect broader shipping costs to remain elevated until early 2022. As a result, shipping costs will likely put upward pressure on the level of consumer prices through the end of this year, but we think the impact on inflation has already peaked and will turn into an outright drag in 2022 as shipping bottlenecks resolve themselves and prices moderate.
Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision. For Reg AC certification and other important disclosures, see the Disclosure Appendix, or go to www.gs.com/research/hedge.html.
We, Jan Hatzius, Alec Phillips, David Mericle, Spencer Hill, CFA, Daan Struyven, Joseph Briggs, Blake Taylor, Ronnie Walker and Laura Nicolae, hereby certify that all of the views expressed in this report accurately reflect our personal views, which have not been influenced by considerations of the firm's business or client relationships.
Unless otherwise stated, the individuals listed on the cover page of this report are analysts in Goldman Sachs' Global Investment Research division.
See company-specific regulatory disclosures above for any of the following disclosures required as to companies referred to in this report: manager or co-manager in a pending transaction; 1% or other ownership; compensation for certain services; types of client relationships; managed/co-managed public offerings in prior periods; directorships; for equity securities, market making and/or specialist role. Goldman Sachs trades or may trade as a principal in debt securities (or in related derivatives) of issuers discussed in this report.
The following are additional required disclosures: Ownership and material conflicts of interest: Goldman Sachs policy prohibits its analysts, professionals reporting to analysts and members of their households from owning securities of any company in the analyst's area of coverage. Analyst compensation: Analysts are paid in part based on the profitability of Goldman Sachs, which includes investment banking revenues. Analyst as officer or director: Goldman Sachs policy generally prohibits its analysts, persons reporting to analysts or members of their households from serving as an officer, director or advisor of any company in the analyst's area of coverage. Non-U.S. Analysts: Non-U.S. analysts may not be associated persons of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and therefore may not be subject to FINRA Rule 2241 or FINRA Rule 2242 restrictions on communications with subject company, public appearances and trading securities held by the analysts.
The following disclosures are those required by the jurisdiction indicated, except to the extent already made above pursuant to United States laws and regulations. Australia: Goldman Sachs Australia Pty Ltd and its affiliates are not authorised deposit-taking institutions (as that term is defined in the Banking Act 1959 (Cth)) in Australia and do not provide banking services, nor carry on a banking business, in Australia. This research, and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Australian Corporations Act, unless otherwise agreed by Goldman Sachs. In producing research reports, members of the Global Investment Research Division of Goldman Sachs Australia may attend site visits and other meetings hosted by the companies and other entities which are the subject of its research reports. In some instances the costs of such site visits or meetings may be met in part or in whole by the issuers concerned if Goldman Sachs Australia considers it is appropriate and reasonable in the specific circumstances relating to the site visit or meeting. To the extent that the contents of this document contains any financial product advice, it is general advice only and has been prepared by Goldman Sachs without taking into account a client's objectives, financial situation or needs. A client should, before acting on any such advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to the client's own objectives, financial situation and needs. A copy of certain Goldman Sachs Australia and New Zealand disclosure of interests and a copy of Goldman Sachs’ Australian Sell-Side Research Independence Policy Statement are available at: https://www.goldmansachs.com/disclosures/australia-new-zealand/index.html. Brazil: Disclosure information in relation to CVM Instruction 598 is available at https://www.gs.com/worldwide/brazil/area/gir/index.html. Where applicable, the Brazil-registered analyst primarily responsible for the content of this research report, as defined in Article 20 of CVM Instruction 598, is the first author named at the beginning of this report, unless indicated otherwise at the end of the text. Canada: Goldman Sachs Canada Inc. is an affiliate of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and therefore is included in the company specific disclosures relating to Goldman Sachs (as defined above). Goldman Sachs Canada Inc. has approved of, and agreed to take responsibility for, this research report in Canada if and to the extent that Goldman Sachs Canada Inc. disseminates this research report to its clients. Hong Kong: Further information on the securities of covered companies referred to in this research may be obtained on request from Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C. India: Further information on the subject company or companies referred to in this research may be obtained from Goldman Sachs (India) Securities Private Limited, Research Analyst - SEBI Registration Number INH000001493, 951-A, Rational House, Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400 025, India, Corporate Identity Number U74140MH2006FTC160634, Phone +91 22 6616 9000, Fax +91 22 6616 9001. Goldman Sachs may beneficially own 1% or more of the securities (as such term is defined in clause 2 (h) the Indian Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956) of the subject company or companies referred to in this research report. Japan: See below. Korea: This research, and any access to it, is intended only for "professional investors" within the meaning of the Financial Services and Capital Markets Act, unless otherwise agreed by Goldman Sachs. Further information on the subject company or companies referred to in this research may be obtained from Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C., Seoul Branch. New Zealand: Goldman Sachs New Zealand Limited and its affiliates are neither "registered banks" nor "deposit takers" (as defined in the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989) in New Zealand. This research, and any access to it, is intended for "wholesale clients" (as defined in the Financial Advisers Act 2008) unless otherwise agreed by Goldman Sachs. A copy of certain Goldman Sachs Australia and New Zealand disclosure of interests is available at: https://www.goldmansachs.com/disclosures/australia-new-zealand/index.html. Russia: Research reports distributed in the Russian Federation are not advertising as defined in the Russian legislation, but are information and analysis not having product promotion as their main purpose and do not provide appraisal within the meaning of the Russian legislation on appraisal activity. Research reports do not constitute a personalized investment recommendation as defined in Russian laws and regulations, are not addressed to a specific client, and are prepared without analyzing the financial circumstances, investment profiles or risk profiles of clients. Goldman Sachs assumes no responsibility for any investment decisions that may be taken by a client or any other person based on this research report. Singapore: Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte. (Company Number: 198602165W), which is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, accepts legal responsibility for this research, and should be contacted with respect to any matters arising from, or in connection with, this research. Taiwan: This material is for reference only and must not be reprinted without permission. Investors should carefully consider their own investment risk. Investment results are the responsibility of the individual investor. United Kingdom: Persons who would be categorized as retail clients in the United Kingdom, as such term is defined in the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority, should read this research in conjunction with prior Goldman Sachs research on the covered companies referred to herein and should refer to the risk warnings that have been sent to them by Goldman Sachs International. A copy of these risks warnings, and a glossary of certain financial terms used in this report, are available from Goldman Sachs International on request.
European Union and United Kingdom: Disclosure information in relation to Article 6 (2) of the European Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) (2016/958) supplementing Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council (including as that Delegated Regulation is implemented into United Kingdom domestic law and regulation following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and the European Economic Area) with regard to regulatory technical standards for the technical arrangements for objective presentation of investment recommendations or other information recommending or suggesting an investment strategy and for disclosure of particular interests or indications of conflicts of interest is available at https://www.gs.com/disclosures/europeanpolicy.html which states the European Policy for Managing Conflicts of Interest in Connection with Investment Research.
Japan: Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd. is a Financial Instrument Dealer registered with the Kanto Financial Bureau under registration number Kinsho 69, and a member of Japan Securities Dealers Association, Financial Futures Association of Japan and Type II Financial Instruments Firms Association. Sales and purchase of equities are subject to commission pre-determined with clients plus consumption tax. See company-specific disclosures as to any applicable disclosures required by Japanese stock exchanges, the Japanese Securities Dealers Association or the Japanese Securities Finance Company.
The Global Investment Research Division of Goldman Sachs produces and distributes research products for clients of Goldman Sachs on a global basis. Analysts based in Goldman Sachs offices around the world produce research on industries and companies, and research on macroeconomics, currencies, commodities and portfolio strategy. This research is disseminated in Australia by Goldman Sachs Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 21 006 797 897); in Brazil by Goldman Sachs do Brasil Corretora de Títulos e Valores Mobiliários S.A.; Ombudsman Goldman Sachs Brazil: 0800 727 5764 and / or firstname.lastname@example.org. Available Weekdays (except holidays), from 9am to 6pm. Ouvidoria Goldman Sachs Brasil: 0800 727 5764 e/ou email@example.com. Horário de funcionamento: segunda-feira à sexta-feira (exceto feriados), das 9h às 18h; in Canada by either Goldman Sachs Canada Inc. or Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC; in Hong Kong by Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C.; in India by Goldman Sachs (India) Securities Private Ltd.; in Japan by Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd.; in the Republic of Korea by Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C., Seoul Branch; in New Zealand by Goldman Sachs New Zealand Limited; in Russia by OOO Goldman Sachs; in Singapore by Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte. (Company Number: 198602165W); and in the United States of America by Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC. Goldman Sachs International has approved this research in connection with its distribution in the United Kingdom and European Union.
European Union: Goldman Sachs International authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, has approved this research in connection with its distribution in the European Union and United Kingdom.
Effective from the date of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and the European Economic Area (“Brexit Day”) the following information with respect to distributing entities will apply:
Goldman Sachs International (“GSI”), authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (“PRA”) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) and the PRA, has approved this research in connection with its distribution in the United Kingdom.
European Economic Area: GSI, authorised by the PRA and regulated by the FCA and the PRA, disseminates research in the following jurisdictions within the European Economic Area: the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Italy, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Finland, Portugal, the Republic of Cyprus and the Republic of Ireland; GS -Succursale de Paris (Paris branch) which, from Brexit Day, will be authorised by the French Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de resolution (“ACPR”) and regulated by the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de resolution and the Autorité des marches financiers (“AMF”) disseminates research in France; GSI - Sucursal en España (Madrid branch) authorized in Spain by the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores disseminates research in the Kingdom of Spain; GSI - Sweden Bankfilial (Stockholm branch) is authorized by the SFSA as a “third country branch” in accordance with Chapter 4, Section 4 of the Swedish Securities and Market Act (Sw. lag (2007:528) om värdepappersmarknaden) disseminates research in the Kingdom of Sweden; Goldman Sachs Bank Europe SE (“GSBE”) is a credit institution incorporated in Germany and, within the Single Supervisory Mechanism, subject to direct prudential supervision by the European Central Bank and in other respects supervised by German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, BaFin) and Deutsche Bundesbank and disseminates research in the Federal Republic of Germany and those jurisdictions within the European Economic Area where GSI is not authorised to disseminate research and additionally, GSBE, Copenhagen Branch filial af GSBE, Tyskland, supervised by the Danish Financial Authority disseminates research in the Kingdom of Denmark; GSBE - Sucursal en España (Madrid branch) subject (to a limited extent) to local supervision by the Bank of Spain disseminates research in the Kingdom of Spain; GSBE - Succursale Italia (Milan branch) to the relevant applicable extent, subject to local supervision by the Bank of Italy (Banca d’Italia) and the Italian Companies and Exchange Commission (Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa “Consob”) disseminates research in Italy; GSBE - Succursale de Paris (Paris branch), supervised by the AMF and by the ACPR disseminates research in France; and GSBE - Sweden Bankfilial (Stockholm branch), to a limited extent, subject to local supervision by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinpektionen) disseminates research in the Kingdom of Sweden.
This research is for our clients only. Other than disclosures relating to Goldman Sachs, this research is based on current public information that we consider reliable, but we do not represent it is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied on as such. The information, opinions, estimates and forecasts contained herein are as of the date hereof and are subject to change without prior notification. We seek to update our research as appropriate, but various regulations may prevent us from doing so. Other than certain industry reports published on a periodic basis, the large majority of reports are published at irregular intervals as appropriate in the analyst's judgment.
Goldman Sachs conducts a global full-service, integrated investment banking, investment management, and brokerage business. We have investment banking and other business relationships with a substantial percentage of the companies covered by our Global Investment Research Division. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, the United States broker dealer, is a member of SIPC (https://www.sipc.org).
Our salespeople, traders, and other professionals may provide oral or written market commentary or trading strategies to our clients and principal trading desks that reflect opinions that are contrary to the opinions expressed in this research. Our asset management area, principal trading desks and investing businesses may make investment decisions that are inconsistent with the recommendations or views expressed in this research.
We and our affiliates, officers, directors, and employees, will from time to time have long or short positions in, act as principal in, and buy or sell, the securities or derivatives, if any, referred to in this research, unless otherwise prohibited by regulation or Goldman Sachs policy.
The views attributed to third party presenters at Goldman Sachs arranged conferences, including individuals from other parts of Goldman Sachs, do not necessarily reflect those of Global Investment Research and are not an official view of Goldman Sachs.
Any third party referenced herein, including any salespeople, traders and other professionals or members of their household, may have positions in the products mentioned that are inconsistent with the views expressed by analysts named in this report.
This research is focused on investment themes across markets, industries and sectors. It does not attempt to distinguish between the prospects or performance of, or provide analysis of, individual companies within any industry or sector we describe.
Any trading recommendation in this research relating to an equity or credit security or securities within an industry or sector is reflective of the investment theme being discussed and is not a recommendation of any such security in isolation.
This research is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security in any jurisdiction where such an offer or solicitation would be illegal. It does not constitute a personal recommendation or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or needs of individual clients. Clients should consider whether any advice or recommendation in this research is suitable for their particular circumstances and, if appropriate, seek professional advice, including tax advice. The price and value of investments referred to in this research and the income from them may fluctuate. Past performance is not a guide to future performance, future returns are not guaranteed, and a loss of original capital may occur. Fluctuations in exchange rates could have adverse effects on the value or price of, or income derived from, certain investments.
Certain transactions, including those involving futures, options, and other derivatives, give rise to substantial risk and are not suitable for all investors. Investors should review current options and futures disclosure documents which are available from Goldman Sachs sales representatives or at https://www.theocc.com/about/publications/character-risks.jsp and https://www.fiadocumentation.org/fia/regulatory-disclosures_1/fia-uniform-futures-and-options-on-futures-risk-disclosures-booklet-pdf-version-2018. Transaction costs may be significant in option strategies calling for multiple purchase and sales of options such as spreads. Supporting documentation will be supplied upon request.
Differing Levels of Service provided by Global Investment Research: The level and types of services provided to you by the Global Investment Research division of GS may vary as compared to that provided to internal and other external clients of GS, depending on various factors including your individual preferences as to the frequency and manner of receiving communication, your risk profile and investment focus and perspective (e.g., marketwide, sector specific, long term, short term), the size and scope of your overall client relationship with GS, and legal and regulatory constraints. As an example, certain clients may request to receive notifications when research on specific securities is published, and certain clients may request that specific data underlying analysts’ fundamental analysis available on our internal client websites be delivered to them electronically through data feeds or otherwise. No change to an analyst’s fundamental research views (e.g., ratings, price targets, or material changes to earnings estimates for equity securities), will be communicated to any client prior to inclusion of such information in a research report broadly disseminated through electronic publication to our internal client websites or through other means, as necessary, to all clients who are entitled to receive such reports.
All research reports are disseminated and available to all clients simultaneously through electronic publication to our internal client websites. Not all research content is redistributed to our clients or available to third-party aggregators, nor is Goldman Sachs responsible for the redistribution of our research by third party aggregators. For research, models or other data related to one or more securities, markets or asset classes (including related services) that may be available to you, please contact your GS representative or go to https://research.gs.com.
Disclosure information is also available at https://www.gs.com/research/hedge.html or from Research Compliance, 200 West Street, New York, NY 10282.
© 2021 Goldman Sachs.
No part of this material may be (i) copied, photocopied or duplicated in any form by any means or (ii) redistributed without the prior written consent of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.