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What caught my eye this week.

I had to dodge through a queue of cars snaking out of a petrol station forecourt and onto the road on my way home this evening.

There are also gaps in the supermarkets and High Street stores – albeit definitely more missing teeth than gummy and barren.

Oh, and energy suppliers are going bust like blown fairy lights.

How bad could this get?

Over on their new website – Invest-ability – the Investor’s Chronicle veterans John Hughman and Phil Oakley posit a new Winter of Discontent:

[…] something is definitely going on that investors need to be keeping tabs on.

We have heard lots about the brewing supply chain crisis that is seeing some empty shelves in supermarkets, partly because we import so much of what we consume and because a lack of lorry drivers means goods simply can’t be moved around.

Sky News also ran through the shortages (not) piling up and the list was long, with everything from bikes to Christmas trees apparently under threat:

From “cancelled” Christmas dinners to numerous energy suppliers collapsing and items missing from supermarket shelves, many industry experts claim Britain is in crisis.

The UK economy has been disrupted by several factors including labour shortages, new immigration rules and the lingering effects of the pandemic.

There is estimated to be a shortfall of around 100,000 lorry drivers, and soaring energy costs have also added to the cost of food production and logistics.

Having spent millions getting a CO2 supplier back into business this week, the government is now holding crisis talks on the petrol driver shortage.

Rebooting the machine

Many are blaming all this on Brexit, and it’s tempting. However the fact is various supply shocks are showing up across the global economy.

The world is famously short of microchips, for instance – it’s even holding up the manufacture of cars. Lumber prices in the US went through a mini boom-and-back-down cycle earlier this year. And the US hypermarket Costco is now warning of a potential toilet paper shortage.

For sure, by re-erecting trade barriers and imposing mounds of paperwork at our borders while scaring off hundreds of thousands of key workers, Brexit won’t be helping. Whatever its political merits, very few economists thought leaving the EU would be anything other than self-damaging. The only question was how much.

For me, our lurch back to the early 1970s was always more akin to taking up smoking. It’ll hurt us in the long run, but in the short-term it’ll mostly be smoke, hot air, and generally being unsociable.

Rather, as I said the other week, there was always going to be a more costly fallout from Covid and its rolling lockdowns than we’ve felt so far. You can’t turn off the global engine and not expect to see some stuttering when you turn it back on. Anyone who has worked at a business that effectively shuts up shop from mid-December to early January knows that.

So I do believe things will probably get better – here and abroad. But they may very well get worse first.

What do you reckon, and are you stocking up on anything? Let us know in the comments below. And have a great weekend!

From Monevator

The contrast effect: Post-FIRE life vs old life – Monevator

The investor’s lifecycle – Monevator

From the archive-ator: How to build a risk factor portfolio – Monevator


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1

Avro Energy and Green go bust; warning more suppliers will go under – BBC

Wine beats scotch and Hermes bags as top luxury investment – Guardian

Food producers warn surge in cost of CO2 will force up prices for shoppers – Guardian

Roald Dahl family in line for £500m after selling up to Netflix – ThisIsMoney

The global housing market is broken – BNN Bloomberg

Vanguard’s forecasting model predicts US equities will lag the rest of the world for the next decade – Vanguard

Products and services

Brace yourselves for an energy bills shock [Search result]FT

JP Morgan launches new UK bank account – Which

Last chance: earn up to £500 cashback when you transfer your pension to ii [Offer ends 30 September] – Interactive Investor

Sainsbury’s claims new Nectar scheme could save you £200 a year – ThisIsMoney

The cheapest mortgage deals revealed as rates plummet – Which

Twitter enables users to send and receive Bitcoin – Engadget

Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade

How crypto is attracting millennial millionaires to financial advice – Investment News

Castles for sale, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

A new tool to calculate your ‘Safe Savings Rate’ – Portfolio Charts

Boring is beautiful – The Belle Curve

Why buying the dip is a terrible investment strategy – Of Dollars and Data

Are you (or is someone you know) one of the 134,000 underpaid the state pension? – Much More With Less

A very generous review of MonevatorFinancial Expert

The psychology of saving habits – Morningstar

Overlooked areas of retirement planning [US but relevant]Humble Dollar

Gordon Brown: the £20 benefit cut is morally indefensible – Guardian

The boon of a mid-life career change [A few weeks old]Guardian

Abundance and scarcity are the enemies of appreciation – AWOCS

Most active managers will continue to lag in this bull market – Indexology

Value creation – Banker on FIRE

Copycat investing mini-special

Does guru investing work? – Enterprising Investor

Steal ideas, not implementations – Robot Wealth

Naughty corner: active antics

Some thoughts on investing and life – The Undercover Fund Manager

Rob Arnott: second chance at the value turn – Advisor Perspectives

Christopher Mills: spotting value and doing something [Video] – via YouTube

The point of being active – Klement on Investing

What is return stacking? – RCM Alternatives

Zooming in on history – Neckar’s New Money

Covid (and the common cold) corner

Is the ‘worst cold ever’ going around? – BBC

Male life expectancy falls for first time in 40 years due to Covid – Guardian

Llamas are at the front line of a new Covid treatment – BBC

Kindle book bargains

Finish What You Start by Peter Hollins – £0.99 on Kindle

Understand Psychology: Teach Yourself: How Your Mind Works and Why You Do the Things You Do by Dr Nicky Hayes – £0.99 on Kindle

Stuffocation: Living More with Less by James Wallman – £0.99 on Kindle

The Great Mental Models Volume 2: Physics, Chemistry, and Biology – by Shane Parrish – £0.99 on Kindle

Environmental factors

Nature is medicine. But what’s the right dose? – Outside

Air pollution: even worse than we thought – BBC

Ocean photographer of the year, in pictures – Guardian

Off our beat

CEO who gave all his employees $70,000 minimum salary thriving six years later [Video]CBS

Scam and fraud have come to the world of NFTs – The Verge

Crypto Jeff Bezos – Not Boring

The spirit of Occupy Wall Street migrated to Reddit – MarketWatch

And finally…

“In the short term, the reasons for market sell-offs feel like they matter a lot and downturns feel like they’ll never end. In the long term, investors tend to forget the specific reasons stocks fell in the past and all corrections look like buying opportunities.”
– Ben Carlson and Robin Powell, Invest Your Way to Financial Freedom

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  1. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”.

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