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Recreated from the New York Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals

Signs of supply chain bottlenecks easing are there … if you look closely.

Why it matters: Consumer price growth — which is at a 40-year high — may start to slow if these trends continue.

Driving the news: Researchers at the New York Fed created the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index as a new way to measure the total level of strain on producers and shippers.

  • They found a slight pullback in overall pressure on the system toward the end of last year.
  • One example: Growth in container shipping rates has cooled, judging from the Baltic Dry Index and Harpex Index.

Meanwhile: New data shows that raw materials prices grew at a significantly slower rate in December, according to the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing survey.

  • And within the services sector, order backlog growth slowed from its record high in November, based on the Services survey published last week.
  • "The survey data suggest that supply pressures are easing,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note.

What to watch: The Omicron effect, not quite captured in the December surveys.

  • While the spread of the latest variant may temper demand for services as soft lockdowns take place, the rise in cases could still ultimately continue to stymie supply chains as workers fall sick or lose their jobs, Shepherdson wrote.

Go deeper ... Biggest recovery winner: energy prices

Go deeper

Retail sales slipped a surprising 1.9% in December

Shoppers in San Francisco on Dec. 22. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Retail sales fell 1.9% in December compared to the previous month, suggesting that shoppers bought holiday gifts earlier last year as they faced rising inflation and supply chain issues.

Driving the news: The data is much lower than the 0% change predicted by economists, according to FactSet.

Hope King, author of Closer
Jan 14, 2022 - Economy & Business

Record level consumer demand drops as high prices surge

Data: FRED; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Record levels of consumer demand are petering out as high prices cut into wages and add to household worries.

Why it matters: Shoppers will hold off on buying if goods get too expensive — a trend that if big enough could slow down economic growth.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 14, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Power demand surge thwarts climate goals

Expand chart
Reproduced from International Energy Agency; Chart: Axios Visuals

Global electricity demand surged by record levels in 2021, causing price spikes and emissions growth, the International Energy Agency said.

Driving the news: New IEA data out Friday shows that power demand grew by over 1,500 terawatt-hours, the highest absolute amount ever.