Global finance officials, gathered in Washington on Wednesday, were focused on finding a way to alleviate supply chain bottlenecks that are driving prices higher and threatening to derail the economic recovery.

As demand has spiked, suppliers have not been able to keep up. Ships are lined up outside American ports waiting to offload goods, US consumer inflation remained elevated in September, global oil prices have jumped over $80 a barrel, the highest in years, and British families may do without turkeys for Christmas dinner.

The White House on Wednesday launched an initiative pushing for 24-hour operations at major ports to alleviate the backlog, while simultaneously urging consumers not to panic.

The supply challenges on a global scale will be a key focus of meetings of the IMF, the Group of 20 advanced economies and the smaller gathering of finance ministers from the Group of Seven.

Pandemic restrictions shuttered trade routes and suppliers have not been able to keep up with the sudden surge in demand as economies began to reopen, which has hobbled the recovery.

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said the global economy faces a “particularly challenging time” as it emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.

But she warned that the lag in vaccination rates to contain the pandemic in developing nations compared to advanced economies is contributing to the supply constraints.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2021.

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