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Helium shortage shows no sign of reprieve

The national shortage of helium has continued throughout the festive season and into 2020, with toy chain Smyths Toys telling disappointed shoppers they cannot sell inflated helium balloons.

A sign which has been put up instore simply reads: “Due to a national helium shortage we are unable to blow up any balloons. We are sorry for any inconvience.”

The consumer press picked up on the national shortage in September, when Steve Durnford, director of family business Balloons of London, warned: “Prices just keep going up and up.”

At the time Phil Kornbluth, the founder of Kornbluth Helium Consulting, told the BBC that the ‘price has gone up an awful lot in a short space of time’.

“There’s no magic number” he said at the time, “but it’s safe to say the price has gone up by 50% to 100%, depending on who you are and where you are in the supply chain.”

More recently, further price increases have been reported throughout the party and balloon industry with expected price hikes of between 20 and 25% set to apply from early February.

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