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Helium Shortage Leaves Dollar Tree And Party City's Balloons Deflated 

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Saturday, May 28, 2022 - 12:00 AM

Retailers from Dollar Tree to Party City are warning about a helium shortage. There's even a shortage of the gas, produced when Uranium decays, to fill weather balloons for the National Weather Service (NWS). 

The US, Qatar, and Algeria are the world's top helium producers. Due to supply chain disruptions, including production plant closures and the 2017 embargo on Qatar, supplies have tightened.

Dollar Tree officials warned Thursday that "once again" a helium shortage will impact balloon sales in a quarterly earnings call. 

"Currently, helium demand is greater than supply, so our stores are finding themselves temporarily out of helium from time to time as they wait for new deliveries. We know this can be tricky when getting ready for a party, and we are very sorry for the inconvenience," Dollar Tree said in a statement on its website. 

Earlier this month, Party City CEO Brad Weston told investors on a quarterly earnings call about the shortage of the odorless gas. 

The shortage has impacted NWS' ability to launch weather balloons because of its inability to source the gas. Several NWS sites across the country used for weather forecasting have had to limit daily ballon launches because of a contract dispute with a helium supplier. 

Increasing search trends for "helium shortage" implies that impacts are worsening, or more people are becoming aware of the shortage. 

The shortage has even ended a six-decade tradition at the University of Nebraska, where fans at Huskers football games will no longer release balloons into the sky this fall because of what University of Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts says, "acquiring helium in today's day and age, given some of the production of it is really challenged and it's been hard to get." 

The world isn't running out of helium. There's just an imbalance in the market of too much demand and not enough supply. 

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