Biden to meet supply chain CEOs amid new COVID threat


US President Joe Biden announces the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of a coordinated effort with other major economies to help mitigate soaring gas prices making remarks on the economy and “falling prices” during a speech in the South Courtyard Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, United States, November 23, 2021. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden was planning to meet with general managers of major retailers and other businesses on Monday to discuss how to move merchandise to shelves as the holiday shopping season in the United States United begins in the shadow of the variant of the coronavirus Omicron.

Biden, who is battling US inflation that recently peaked in 31 years, has taken steps to try to break supply chain bottlenecks, including decongesting ports and increasing the hours of operation of truckers.

The Democratic president has also called for inquiries into excessive shipping charges and possible illegal behavior in the oil and gas markets that keep fuel prices high.

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Biden was planning to welcome CEOs of Best Buy, Food Lion, Samsung North America, Qurate Retail Group, Todos Supermarket, Etsy, Mattel and Kroger to the White House, the White House announced.

Virtual meeting attendees will include Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch.

Biden will make public remarks after the meeting, which follows the start of the year-end shopping season on Black Friday.

Black Friday retail sales were up 29.8% from 2020 until 3 p.m. that day, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. Bargain hunters who ventured out to shop for Christmas presents the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States have found less crowded stores amid online change, fears of COVID, and smaller discounts. Read more

It is estimated that U.S. retailers will generate online sales of up to $ 11.3 billion on Cyber ​​Monday, a drop in growth from the previous year as fewer discounts and limited choices due to disruption to the market. the global supply chain deters buyers.

Earlier Monday, Biden will receive a briefing from the White House COVID-19 response team on developments related to the Omicron variant.

The World Health Organization warned on Monday that the variant is likely to spread internationally, posing a “very high” global risk, where outbreaks of infection could have “serious consequences” in some areas. Read more

Word of the variant spread to southern Africa as the U.S. economy appeared to accelerate last week after the number of Americans filing new unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level in 52 years.

After a choppy sell-off on Friday, a semblance of calm returned to global markets on Monday as investors waited for more details to assess the severity of the Omicron variant on the global economy, allowing stocks and oil prices to rebound. Read more

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Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Doina Chiacu, editing by Peter Graff and Ed Osmond

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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