MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (February, 2023)
Pleased to join the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Mark Warner and Hillary Johnstone, talking high grocery prices, the US Federal Reserve interest rate increase, and ChatGPT’s subscription plans; you can watch our segment here.
Some thoughts on our discussion.
It’s no secret that rising prices have been challenging for consumers in recent months, especially at the grocery store. And now that price freezes have concluded, many consumers are wondering when they might see some relief. Although inflation rates have declined in recent months, it is expected to be a while before “near normal” levels will occur, which means that shoppers have a need to keep time tested advice in mind: make a list, be flexible in choices, focus on buying what is needed, and shop around. As the Summer months near, we will see some additional produce choices in the marketplace, which could be helpful. Having said that, it isn’t too late to start your own garden preparations, as seed displays begin to appear in stores!
Speaking of inflation, the US Federal Reserve slightly raised interest rates this past week, but unlike Canada, did not indicate a pause in rate hikes. Although our countries are closely connected, in terms of business relationships and trade, there is something to be said for stepping back to observe how rate increases impact not only the economy, but also companies. Business owners deal with a tremendous amount of practical, real world challenges on the front lines of their company on a daily basis. Although inflation also affects companies, in terms of the goods/supplies that they purchase, they are also impacted by rising labour costs and interest rates, by way of debt and financing obligations. It is important to balance increasing rates to combat inflation with adverse impacts to business in other areas, keeping in mind that the implications are often not immediate and there is a danger in “oversteering”.
And, finally, as ChatGPT continues to attract attention, will it be able to access subscriber money, to the tune of $20 USD per month? There is a need for people and technology to work together to be more productive, in terms of business applications, however, as consumers choose carefully about where to spend their money in challenging economic times, paid subscribers may be elusive over the longterm (building a sustainable customer base is so important for companies!). This technology has some applications, however, expect a number of real life stakeholders (such as those in the business world) to require more robust solutions.
Thanks for watching and see you again next time!
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