Global Repercussions

Sitting in Canada (standing, walking…whatever we’re doing), wrapped up in our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to disregard how global issues affect us.  The news tells us that oil prices are increasing because of the Libyan crisis.  We know that increasing radiation levels in Japan’s waters may eventually affect produce exports.  What never makes headlines is how world events are affecting promotional products.

Here are a few global things that are happening and affecting the products we, as promotional products distributors, buy every day:

  • Worldwide cotton shortages are creating material shortages in the production of a promotional product mainstay…the cotton t-shirt!  The shortage means cotton prices are at an all-time high globally which will translate into higher t-shirt prices.  The cotton shortage will also adversely affect t-shirt stock availability.
  • Japan produces more than 40 percent of the world’s USB flash drive supply; memory prices jumped by 50 to 60 percent overnight following the recent earthquake and tsunami.  While the prices have since started to stabilize, the long-term effects on USB flash drives and many other products remain unclear.  
  • Shipping vessel capacity has increasingly been a challenge for our suppliers.  When the recession hit many shipping companies decreased their capacity or went out of business.  Capacities haven’t come back to pre-recession levels and now with the situation in Japan it is expected that space on container ships will be even harder to come by as emergency supplies are needed to be sent to Japan.  Lack of cargo ship capacity has been a factor in many out-of-stock situations over the past year and is expected to be an issue for the foreseeable future.

So here we sit, with world events pointing to potential price increases and product shortages. This means that now, more than ever before, it is important to plan ahead. We will do all that we can to meet budgets and deadlines but some things are out of all of our hands.

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