Disposable Glove Market Survives Volatility, Inflation Fears

Illustration shows character walking a tightrope of up and down arrows that signify volatility.

The disposable glove market—like all markets—loves economic stability and predictability. Uncertainty will lead distributors, sellers, and end users to plan for the worst when it comes to pricing.

The first half of 2023 has been volatile for markets. Investors have had to contend with the possibility of a recession, a banking crisis, interest rate hikes (and pauses), sticky inflation, and a softening U.S. economy. The International Monetary Fund warned in the spring of volatile commodity prices posing economic challenges in coming years.

But this economy just won’t give in to negative expectations.

U.S. economic growth accelerated over three months ending in June, blowing past expectations and tamping down concerns about a possible recession. The U.S. gross domestic product grew by a 2.4% annualized rate to finish the first half of 2023, according to government data released last week.

Spending is making a comeback

Americans’ income and spending rose as recently as April, a sign of economic resilience amid rising prices. This positive news, along with recent jobs reports—nonfarm payrolls increasing by 339,000 in May, much higher than anticipated, and 209,000 in June—show an economy remaining strong despite higher prices. The employment cost index, a key Federal Reserve gauge, rose only 1% during Q2, slightly less than expected.

In June, inflation rose by only 0.2%, a cooler figure than the 0.4% increase in May. The optimism from these figures is reflected in a survey of economists and analysts that showed American businesses are expected to fare better in coming months.

Thanks to this resilience in the U.S., Barclays Corporate and Investment Bank sees the world economy as softening but not collapsing. Inflation is declining, albeit at a slower rate than the investment crowd would like. They predict the coming quarter as being one of consolidation.

Market remains a work in progress

Over the past three years, inflation has impacted commodities and disposable glove market pricing. From labor to warehousing to domestic transportation, costs have increased and have impacted distribution pricing on several levels.

For many distributors, inventory remains a challenge. At every stop on the supply chain, overbuying during the pandemic led to excess inventory, which everyone sells through at their own pace.

For now, rest assured that glove supply is ample, even if prices are not where manufacturers would like.

Read more about current market conditions in our Q3 Market Update.

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