HONG KONG–As Western markets roar back to life, a new wave of Covid-19 clusters in Asia–where vaccination campaigns stay in their early stages–is producing fresh bottlenecks in the global supply chain, threatening to push up prices and weigh on the post-pandemic recovery.
An outbreak in one of the planet’s busiest ports in southern China has led to global shipping flaws, while diseases at crucial points in the semiconductor supply chain in Taiwan and Malaysia are worsening a global chip shortage that has hindered production in the auto and tech businesses.
The brand new headaches add to inflation worries, following China and the U.S. this week listed their biggest yearly jumps in factory-gate costs and consumer costs , respectively, in over a decade. If such issues continue–and get worse–they can weigh on global expansion.
For much of last year, China, Taiwan and a number of other parts of Asia kept the pandemic in check better than the U.S. and Europe and limited some of the financial harm. But as vaccination rates have risen in the West, authorities have started rolling restri