Unsurprisingly, these unrelenting heat waves and the worst drought in five decades is going to make itself known in your shopping cart.
“It is one extra kick in the stomach” for low-income families, said Chris G. Christopher, senior principal economist at IHS, a consulting firm. “There’s a lot of people in this country living paycheck to paycheck. This is not a good thing for them.” Higher food prices might also damp consumer sentiment. “Consumers are very sensitive to the price of gas and food,” said Jeet Dutta, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. “But overall inflation will still look pretty moderate for the rest of the year.” Economists fear a far greater impact outside of the United States because America is a major exporter of a broad variety of agricultural products. Lower production at home means less supply and higher prices abroad. “We’re seeing the price of wheat, corn and beans go up,” said Marc Sadler, the head of the agricultural risk management team at the World Bank, noting that in other regions of the world, like Eastern Europe, yields were also falling.
The above-linked New York Times report also notes that many roads, rails, and power systems are buckling, sometimes literally, under the stress of severe weather.