Money Matters: Balloon industry losing air

May 31, 2019 11:00

Graduation parties, birthday celebrations and special occasions may be getting a little less buoyant – or more expensive.

The price of the helium gas used to keep balloons afloat is getting more expensive as the United States’ reserve is dwindling and more demand must be fulfilled by importing higher-priced helium from abroad.

While helium can be manufactured as a byproduct of natural gas processing, for example, for now, a shortage has prices jumping for party stores, even causing some to close.

But it’s not just parties feeling the letdown – helium is a critical component of MRI machines and has other medical and scientific applications.

Have you checked in with local businesses about how helium prices are affecting them, like 10 TV did?

What about medical manufactures or hospitals? Some doctors have even called for a ban on balloons to ensure helium is available for medical purposes. What are the short- and long-term implications for the cost of medical procedures?

Utah markets have an additional local story idea: one company is aiming to start tapping into an underground supply there.

In the meantime, one question consumers may want to ask themselves: Should they pay up or skip out on balloons this party season?
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