« on: February 21, 2011, 04:21 PM »
Without straying too far into "pit" specific talk, the reason that the price for Chinese goods are rising isn't because the dollar is depreciating, its because the Chinese have made atleast show efforts to stop manipulating the renminbi. Meaning they are actually letting the value of their currency rise; some. Which means you need more dollars to purchase goods made in China.
Higher commodity prices don't have a 1:1 relationship with rising consumer prices. Action figures have a significant portion of their cost tied in the labor costs. Which is to say the Hasbro (or freelance) sculptors, the factory workers, the packaging designers, the marketing people, the people that stock the figures, etc. For the most part those costs haven't been escalating. Of the $8+ of the cost of the action figure the actual value of the plastic contained in the figures is only a few cents.
It's inaccurate to state that the higher commodity prices directly lead to higher consumer prices. Its only true for consumer items where the underlying commodity makes up the majority of the price structure. For goods where the majority of the price is tied up in non-commodity components (for example items with a high labor content), price increases can only rise when inflation gets baked in (ie when we see increases to core inflation).
Hasbro has realized that the Vintage line sells at $8-$9 at a rate sufficient that they think they'll increase their margins if the increase prices to the $9-$10 range. Similarly Walmart and Target have realized that they are leaving money on the table and not gaining market share by pricing their figures lower. Its not a commodity story, its just business.