March 23, 2018
Headlining the news today is a focus on how
threat of steep tariffs on American pork imports will put further
pressure on an industry already facing weaker demand from the worldís
top buyer of the meat. Beijing said on Friday it was considering
levying an additional 15 percent tariff on U.S. products including dried
fruit, wine and steel pipes, and an extra 25 percent duty on pork
products and recycled aluminum in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and
aluminum. Some industry participants said the tariffs and the threat of
a brewing trade war between China and the United States would create
more Chinese demand for European pork exporters, who have boosted
supplies to China in the last two years after sanctions on Russia closed
one of the regionís key markets.
Pork Producers Council warned that possible Chinese tariffs on U.S. pork
could have a significant negative impact on rural America. China has
indicated it will impose the duties in response to U.S. tariffs and
restrictions Ė announced today Ė being placed on a host of Chinese
In other news,
Kroger are discussing a possible merger. The talks come as the grocery
industry grapples with Amazonís increasing hold on the market. The
two companies first started conversations last summer about a
partnership that could improve Targetís grocery business and give Kroger
customers more access to merchandise and e-commerce.
exodus is under way at Whole Foods, as Amazon.com Inc. integrates the
pioneering natural grocer into its retail empire. More than a dozen
executives and senior managers have left since Amazon acquired Whole
Foods last year, according to former employees and recruiters steering
them to new jobs. People who have left include leaders of the bakery,
produce, sustainability and local-foods divisions.
Inc., the maker of Huntís ketchup and Slim Jim meat snacks, said it
expects a higher annual profit this year despite rising costs for
ingredients and shipping. Conagra on Thursday projected adjusted
earnings of up to $2.05 a share for its fiscal year ending in May, about
8% higher than it expected previously.
For the first time in
nearly two years,
Kentucky Farm Bureauís Marketbasket Survey indicated
food prices increased slightly during the first quarter of 2018. Each
quarter, 40 basic food items are price-checked throughout the state to
gauge current food-price trends. Since the end of 2016, surveyed food
items had dropped by a total of $3.79 or just over three percent. This
upward movement in food prices amounts to 1.35 percent or $1.56 more
than the price of the same items surveyed during the last quarter of
2017. The total price for all 40 items came to $115.67. While this
current survey indicates a rise in prices, as compared to a year ago at
the same time, this increase amounts to less than a quarter of a
Finally today, our weekly retail column reports that
March is certainly not going out like lamb in 2018, as Northeasterners
were so harshly reminded this past week. With significant snow on the
ground following the latest winter storm, it hardly feels like spring!
Nonetheless, Easter is just over a week away. Looking at buying
opportunities, ham features next week are on pace for significant
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