This morning’s ISM Non-Manufacturing report for the month of February was impressive at the headline level despite growing concerns over the impact of the Covid-19 virus. One aspect of the report where the outbreak is starting to show up is in the survey where companies are asked what commodities are in short supply. In this month’s survey, ISM noted that 11 commodities were in short supply among companies in the Non-Manufacturing sector. The chart below shows the number of commodities in short supply on a monthly basis with recessions highlighted in gray. Going back to 1999, there have only been two other months where a larger number of commodities were in short supply and that was in the months immediately following Hurricane Katrina.
Looking at the commodities that were flagged as being in short supply in February, five can be directly related to Covid-19. As shown below, Medical Supplies, Personal Protective Equipment, Surgical Gowns, Surgical Masks, and Surgical Packs are all flying off the shelves. Start a two-week free trial to Bespoke Institutional for full access to all of our economic research and tools.