SALT LAKE CITY — As the conflict in Ukraine continues, the effects of the war will in time begin to affect Utahns — not just emotionally, but economically.
To find out how, we'll take a look at what goods are going to be impacted — specifically, imports from Russia.
The United States imports about $29 billion of goods from Russia.
That includes fuels (the largest import, which impacts nearly everything), precious metals, iron, steel, fertilizers and chemicals.
Outside the U.S., oil is still a major export from Russia. Cars and wheat are other important exports.
Those are now the goods that could be at risk for price increases or supply chain shortages.
“I should start by saying that Putin continues to prove me wrong, because I continue to think that rationality will prevail in some way,” said Ryan Vogel, the director of the Center for National Security Studies at Utah Valley University. “There's a lot of history and baggage to this conflict, and you're seeing it play out now.”
Vogel is hoping to help Utahns understand what the impact on their lives will be.
At least in the short term, he says things will look very similar to supply chain shortages during the pandemic.
“I think there will be more indirect effects than direct effects,” he said. "There will be supply chain disruptions, just like we've seen over the past couple of years. You will see an increase in prices from gas and other energy sources... and those will all have an effect on the prices of goods.”
The exact impacts will depend on how long the conflict lasts. If it's only is a few weeks, Vogel says the impacts to those in the U.S. will be minimal. But if it lasts longer, he says the effects may increase — “especially for businesses that really are directly affected by the sanctions, because of, you know, either their buyers or the products or something like that.”
With Russia being a major producer of oil and energy, those areas areamost likely where we are going to see the biggest impacts.
There is also the risk of China and its threats towards Taiwan, but Vogel says that's not a worry he has yet.
“I’m not overly concerned with it, only because I think China is a lot more strategic than that. I don't think that they're going to be drawn into a Russian conflict," he said.
Ultimately the impacts this conflict will have, and how severe they will be, is unknown. But Vogel had a message for the public.
“I think we have to prepare,” he said, “at least for the short-term, for price increases, disruptions and availabilities.”