Executives at big American corporations can’t stop talking about inflation, the bugaboo for markets, households and policy makers as the pandemic enters a third year, according to supply-chain researcher Panjiva, a unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The chart below shows the sharp increased in mentions for “supply chains,” “logistics” and “inflation” by companies when reporting quarterly results since 2018, as tracked by Panjiva.
The light-blue line shows inflation-related words came up on 71% of earnings calls in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 39.2% a year before.
Talk about inflation hits 71% of corporate earnings calls in Q4
Panjiva, the supply chain research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence
For apparel and leisure products, Panjiva’s analysis showed more frequent inflation mentions at 75.0% and 94.1% of calls, respectively, in the fourth quarter.
“Talk of “supply chain” and “logistics” have increased alongside inflation, with up to 77.8% of calls for “supply chain” and 61.2% of calls for “logistics” in the fourth quarter,” wrote Eric Oak, a researcher at Panjiva.
Pricing pressures have pushed up the costs of living to a 40-year high, despite early on being talked about as a “transient” force by the Federal Reserve, as it stuck to its easy-monetary policy stance through much of the COVID crisis.
That’s not how things have played out. U.S. inflation was last pegged at a 7% yearly rate and likely to rise.
That’s prompted the Fed to shifts gears, with the first interest rate hike since 2018 widely expected in March and a shrinking of its balance sheet to follow.
U.S. stocks were climbing Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s annual consumer price inflation reading for January, which is expected to rise to 7.2%. The S&P 500 index SPX, +1.49% was up 1.4%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.93% up 0.9% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +2.04% up 1.9%.