Supply chain woes could worsen as China imposes more COVID lockdowns

So far, the effects of the lockdowns on Chinese factory production and deliveries have been limited. Four of China’s largest port cities — Shanghai, Dalian, Tianjin and Shenzhen — have imposed narrowly targeted lockdowns to try to control small outbreaks of the Omicron variant. As of this weekend, these cities had not locked down their docks. Still, Volkswagen and Toyota announced last week that they would temporarily suspend operations in Tianjin because of lockdowns.

Analysts warn that many industries could face disruptions in the flow of goods as China tries to stamp out any coronavirus infections ahead of the Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing next month. On Saturday, Beijing officials reported the city’s first case of the Omicron variant, prompting the authorities to lock down the infected person’s residential compound and workplace.

If extensive lockdowns become more widespread in China, their effects on supply chains could be felt across the United States. Major new disruptions could depress consumer confidence and exacerbate inflation, which is already at a 40-year high, posing challenges for the Biden administration and the Federal Reserve.