Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents portions of the Bronx and Queens in Congress, isn’t sure whether the price increases U.S. consumers have been experiencing are entirely aligned with broader inflation concerns.
“When you look at what actual prices are going up, it’s in very specific sectors,” Ocasio-Cortez, widely identified as “AOC,” said during an interview with CNN on Monday. And circumscribed price moves, to the New York Democrat, do not scream “inflation”:
“ ‘If this was an overall inflationary issue, we would see prices going up in relatively equal amounts across the board no matter what the good is.’ ”
“But we know it’s getting expensive,” the second-term House member continued. “Things like the cost of lumber, items like cars, whether they are new or used and other sorts of items that rely on shipping and shipping containers coming in from overseas. These are very sector specific, which means that these are due to supply-chain issues.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on supply chains across the country and beyond. Industries including retail, agriculture and housing have been impacted by supply-chain disruptions related to the pandemic.
As Ocasio-Cortez noted, lumber prices have been on the rise. Prices were at record highs this year before stabilizing in recent months — the cost of lumber LBU21, -1.68% LB00, -1.68% had surged more than 300% between April 2020 and May 2021.
Partially due to concerns over the delta variant and inflation, U.S. markets tumbled on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.62% fell 725.81 points, or 2.1%, to close at 33,962.04, its biggest one-day percentage and point drop since Oct. 28, 2020. The S&P 500 SPX, +1.52% dropped 68.67 points, or 1.6%, to end at 4,258.49, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +1.57% shed 152.25 points, or 1.1%, finishing at 14,274.98 — the worst day for both indexes since May 12.
Stocks rebounded sharply on Tuesday, recapturing the bulk of day-earlier losses.
Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, has stated that pandemic-related shortages and bottlenecks are behind recent price spikes. He has predicted inflation will ease as the U.S. economy continues to reopen.
“Inflation has increased notably and will likely remain elevated in coming months before moderating,” Powell said on July 14.