A Weaker U.S. Dollar and a Stronger Chinese Yuan
Bloomberg writer, John Authers, offers us this headline: “Dollar May Be on Brink of Sustained Downtrend.” That’s bad news for the toy industry as he is also predicting a rise in the value of the Chinese Yuan.
China produces 86% of the world’s toys, and the (hopefully) receding pandemic has slowed any manufacturing movement out of that country. Any hopes for India as an alternative source of goods were dashed, at least for now, by that country’s continuing decimation by coronavirus.
That means that the relationship between the dollar and the yuan is pivotal to producers, retailers and consumers. An increase in the two countries relative currency rates means that that the actual cost of goods goes up.
The impact of relative currency valuations is much more significant than a rise in the cost of plastic or cardboard. An increase in the value of, for example, plastic only affects that portion of the cost of the product. A currency devaluation is different. When a currency is devalued, it affects the price of the entire product.
Chinese Factory Owners Are Not Investing in Expansion
Chinese factory owners are confronting higher input prices, an increase in demand, and uncertainty about the post-covid global market. As a result, they are being conservative, and not investing in increased manufacturing capacity. That’s according to the article “World Faces Longer Supply Shortage as China’s Factories Squeezed.” As the report puts it:
[M]any Chinese manufacturers,[don’t] plan to expand operations — a reticence that could slow the pace of China’s economic growth this year and prolong a shortage of goods being felt around the world as demand picks up.
The result could mean continued stress on toy and consumer products companies and retailers struggling to get their orders filled on time or at all.
Chinese Factories Are Softening Inflation
This week, MarketWatch writer Jefferey Bartash gave us this headline: “U.S. inflation surges to 13-year high – and consumers are paying the price.” It could, however, be worse. That is according to Chinese economist, David Qu who states:
Chinese industry is absorbing significant cost pressures from rising commodity prices — damping the inflationary impact for the rest of the world. Will it last? Our analysis of gross margins suggests it could for a while longer: downstream industries — where the cost crunch is most severe — still have a small cushion. David Qu, China economist