Few people know and understand the world economy as well as Jan-Egbert Sturm (52) from the Netherlands. The economist heads the Economic Research Center (KOF) at ETH Zurich and has been Vice President of the federal government’s Corona Task Force since February 2021. In the video call he answers the most pressing questions about the supply turbulence on the world markets.
View: The global economy has been plagued by delivery bottlenecks for quite a while now. What is the reason for that?
Jan-Egbert Sturm: The problems have two fundamental reasons. On the one hand, many companies shut down production in the pandemic. Switching off is quick and easy, but restarting it is more difficult. Because processes have to be initiated and supply chains have to be reconciled with one another.
And the second reason?
On the other hand, consumer demand shifted during the pandemic, from services that were no longer possible to consumer goods that we could actually buy. The boom in demand in this world of goods remains high, and production is still lagging behind.
How dangerous are these delivery bottlenecks?
The greatest danger at the moment is that the bottlenecks will slow the economic recovery. We have therefore reduced our growth forecast for Switzerland this year to 3.2 percent. On the other hand, the recovery will be stronger next year at 3.6 percent.
Does that mean that this is a temporary phenomenon?
Yes, but it can take a few more months for the delivery bottlenecks to be resolved. This has a certain potential for frustration for consumers.
What does it take for the supply chains to function properly again?
It helps if the demand shifts back a little towards services. We consumers have that in our own hands to a certain extent. We could gradually go back to traveling or going to restaurants – instead of buying fancy furniture or the latest mobile phone. If everyone wants the same gadget at the same time, this leads to bottlenecks, even though global production is already running at full speed again.
Is the Christmas business in danger of falling into the water?
It may well be that there are a little more vouchers for goods still to be delivered under the Christmas tree this year than usual.