Economics in the News – May 16-22, 2022
Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week related to economics.
- The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus is coming to an arena near you! The show will return in the United States beginning in Sept. 2023, following a six-year hiatus since shutting down in 2017. Company executives cited lower attendance, changing public tastes, high operating expenses and disputes with animal-rights groups for its shutdown. Prior to its pause, it had operated for 146 years.
The show’s relaunch will be without the use of lions, tigers, elephants and other animals. The show is looking for new acts, ranging from gymnastics and acrobatics to humor and extreme sports. [The Wall Street Journal]
- Natural gas in Qatar – a nation of less than three million people – is in demand across Europe and around the world. International leaders are flocking to Qatar for natural gas, seeking for alternatives to Russian energy following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. Based on trends in the first quarter of 2022, Qatar’s energy exports are projected to surpass $100 billion this year for the first time since 2014.
With Europe receiving 40 percent of its gas from Russia, Qatar is pumping oil at full capacity. Coupled with Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup and an anticipated $20 billion economic boost, Qatar’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow at a rate of 4.4 percent this year – the highest rate of growth since 2015. [Bloomberg]
- The average price for fuel keeps rising, ascending to $4.59 per gallon across the United States, according to AAA. Gas costs 50 percent more than it did this time last year. While Americans are changing their spending habits to combat inflation, most aren’t driving less.
Experts warn that all of the driving is driving up the cost of fuel due to the low fuel supply. Memorial Day weekend is expected to see 37.9 million Americans on the road, an increase of 8.5 percent over last year. [The Washington Post]
- Parents of newborns are facing shortages of baby formula. It has been hard to come by in some parts of the United States since suspected contamination led to a recall and shutting down a manufacturing plant in Michigan. That plant supplied one-fifth of all the baby formula for the United States. Four companies control roughly 90 percent of the market.
Typically, the US doesn’t import baby formula from other countries and a 17.5 percent tariff persists on the formula that is brought in. To address the current shortage, the Federal Drug Administration has relaxed its rules to allow for imported formula, while Abbott Nutrition’s Michigan-based plant has been permitted to re-open with new safety precautions. [NPR]
- Manchester City captured its sixth Premier League title in 11 seasons, rallying from a two-goal deficit en route to a 3-2 win over Aston Villa. City retained the Premier League trophy by a single point, holding off runner-up and Champions League finalist Liverpool.
The 2022 crown marked the eighth time that City has finished atop the top flight of English football and the sixth time since 2012. It marked the fourth time in the last five years that City have won the league crown with the only time they didn’t win coming with Liverpool’s title in 2020. [Associated Press]