* Britain's chicken king says 20-year cheap food binge over
* IEA says energy crisis could threaten economic recovery
* Cold keeps China coal prices high, power crunch continues
* Biden targets bottlenecks threatening holiday sales
(Adds IKEA on 'perfect storm', paragraphs 6-8; Coal India,
LONDON/TOKYO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - From beef bowls https://www.reuters.com/world/the-great-reboot/beef-bowls-coffee-cost-surge-squeezes-japans-salaryman-staples-2021-10-14
in Tokyo to fried chicken https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/britains-binge-cheap-food-is-over-biggest-chicken-producer-says-2021-10-14
in London, consumers are beginning to feel the pinch from the
surge in costs coursing through the global economy.
The rebound in economic activity as coronavirus restrictions
are eased has exposed shortages across supply chains, with
companies scrambling to find workers, ships and even fuel to
power factories, threatening the recovery.
Britain's biggest chicken producer warned that the country's
20-year cheap food binge is coming to an end and said food price
inflation could hit double digits.
"The days when you could feed a family of four with a 3
pound ($4) chicken are coming to an end," Ranjit Singh Boparan,
owner of the 2 Sisters Group, said.
An acute shortage of warehouse workers, truckers and
butchers as the world's fifth-largest economy deals with Brexit
as well as COVID-19 is exacerbating strains which are being felt
globally by international business.
IKEA is leasing more ships, buying containers and re-routing
goods between warehouses as the world's largest furniture brand
seeks to mitigate a "perfect storm" of global supply chain
Jon Abrahamsson, chief executive at Inter IKEA, told Reuters
IKEA warns supply chain disruptions likely to last into 2022 he
expects the crisis to extend into 2022, with the biggest
challenge getting goods out of China, where around a quarter of
IKEA products are made.
IKEA said stores in North America have been hardest hit by
product shortages, followed by Europe.
In the United States, President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged
the private sector to help ease supply chain blockages that are
threatening to disrupt the U.S. holiday season.
Biden said the Port of Los Angeles would join the Port of
Long Beach in working round-the-clock to unload about 500,000
containers, while Walmart, Target and other big
retailers would expand overnight operations to help out.
Even in Japan, where weak growth has meant that prices of
many things - as well as wages - haven't risen much in decades,
consumers and businesses are facing a price shock for basics
such as coffee and beef bowls.
Japan's core consumer inflation only stopped falling in
August, snapping a 12-month deflationary spell. Economists and
policymakers expect to see recent price rises reflected in
official data in the coming months.
With central bankers on high alert and inflation in Spain,
Ireland and Sweden hitting 13-year highs, European Central Bank
President Christine Lagarde repeated that the upswing in Europe
is seen as temporary and said there were no signs that the
recent surge is becoming embedded in
"The impact of these factors should fade out ... in the
course of next year, dampening annual inflation," Lagarde said.
Euro zone inflation is expected to hit 4% before the end of
the year, twice the ECB's target, and a growing number of
economists see it remaining above target throughout 2022.
Dwindling power supplies suggest a bleak winter outlook in
some parts of the world.
As northern China chills, coal prices held near record
highs, with power plants stocking up to ease an energy crunch
that sent factory gate inflation in the world's second-largest
economy to an at-least 25 year high in September.
Meanwhile, Coal India, the world's biggest coal
miner, said it had temporarily stopped supplying non-power users
as India battles one of its worst ever power supply deficits.
China's power crisis, caused by shortages of coal, high fuel
prices and booming post-pandemic industrial demand has halted
production at numerous factories, including many supplying big
brands such as Apple.
Weak demand is capping consumer inflation, however, forcing
policymakers to walk a tightrope between supporting the economy
and further stoking producer prices.
There are few signs of any reprieve in energy costs, with
Brent crude oil futures above $84 a barrel on
expectations that soaring natural gas prices will drive a switch
to oil to meet winter heating needs.
The International Energy Agency said the crunch could boost
oil demand by half a million barrels per day (bpd).
"Higher energy prices are also adding to inflationary
pressures that, along with power outages, could lead to lower
industrial activity and a slowdown in the economic recovery,"
the IEA said in its monthly oil report.
Top economic institutes cut their joint forecast for 2021
growth in Germany, Europe's largest economy, to 2.4% from 3.7%
as supply bottlenecks hamper output, confirming a Reuters story
In response to the crisis, the White House has been speaking
with U.S. oil and gas producers about helping to bring down fuel
costs, two sources familiar with the matter said.
The average U.S. retail cost of a gallon of gasoline is at a
seven-year high, and the U.S. Energy Department expects winter
fuel costs to surge. Oil and gas production remains below the
nation's peak reached in 2019.
CHIPS STILL DOWN
Dutch navigation and digital mapping company TomTom
warned that supply chain problems in the auto sector
could last well into 2022.
"Collectively we have underestimated how big the supply
chain issues, and especially for semiconductor shortages, have
been or have become", TomTom Chief Financial Officer Taco
Titulaer told Reuters.
A global semiconductor chip shortage has forced carmakers
still recovering from coronavirus disruptions to halt production
Italian-American vehicle maker CNH Industrial said
on Wednesday it will temporarily shut several European
agricultural, commercial vehicle and powertrain manufacturing
plants because of problems procuring components.
Soaring demand is, however, proving a boon for some.
Taiwan's TSMC, the world's largest contract
chipmaker, reported a nearly 14% jump in third quarter profit.
TSMC and Taiwan have become central to efforts to resolve
the global chip shortage, which has also hit manufacturers of
smartphones, laptops and consumer appliances.
Some companies, such as Toyota Motor Corp are
intensifying efforts to restart production. The Japanese
carmaker hopes to do so in December with a rebound in shipments
from pandemic-hit suppliers, three sources told Reuters.
(Additional reporting by Muyu Xu, Shivani Singh, David Stanway,
Noah Browning, James Davey, Liangping Gao, Stella Qiu and Ryan
Woo; Writing by Alexander Smith; Editing by Carmel Crimmins and