How bad will inflation get? Are the price hikes we’re seeing a transitory blip or part of a broader trend? What can we expect from stocks and bonds in the near future? To answer these questions, some analysts are turning to an old school data tracker called the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index. During the pandemic, demand for cars remained high because people liked the idea of not sharing their personal space with others. The chip shortages dramatically slowed the assembly lines. Previously-owned vehicle prices soared, and suddenly, all eyes were on America’s used car lots as a key economic indictator. So, yeah, the future of the American economy sort of depends on used car salesmen. NYT (Gift article for ND readers, zero money down, if you can act now! This deal won’t last!): Wall Street Scans the Lots as Used Cars Prod Inflation.

+ Related: Refund?! Refund!?

+ Used cars are a key economic indicator in the US. In the UK, the key indicator is fuel availability, thanks to a fuel shortage that has led to long lines at gas stations. Only, there was no fuel shortage at all. Until people started to think there was. But it’s all right now. In fact it’s a gas. Shortage. Sort of. Fuel supply: Why are there long queues for petrol in UK?

+ While we’re on the topic of the economy, don’t miss this interesting look at the meat market from The Atlantic’s David Frum: Where’s the Cheap Beef? “Grocery prices are rising. Meat prices are rising more than most other grocery prices. Beef prices are rising more than most other meat prices. But on the ranch, these are not prosperous times. Even as ground chuck costs more than $5 a pound at Walmart, ranchers complain that they are receiving less for their animals than it costs to feed them.” (I’m a vegetarian, so I have no beef with any of these players. But take note of how tricky this issue is given our current state of meat monopolization.)

+ Raise the roof? From the debt ceiling to the budget, it’s a key week in DC. Your wallet is on the line.