Pork Tariffs in Play: $1.39 Lb for Center Cut Boneless Loin

President Trump promised to make it up to farmers later. Meanwhile, stock up your freezer. High-quality pork is on sale.

I stopped at a Meijer grocery store over the weekend. Boneless, center-cut pork loin was on sale for a price I do not recall seeing for at least a decade: $1.39 per pound.

Fortune Gets it Wrong

The idea never made any sense given that China's tariff on soybeans and pork would lead to oversupply in the US.

Immediate Impact

A Statehouse News article, out today reflects reality: Pork Tariff Talk Has Immediate Impact On Market.

“The message is get it worked out,” said Brian Watkins, a lifelong hog farmer from Kenton who wants President Donald Trump, top federal officials and leaders from China to resolve the impending trade dilemma. “Something happens somewhere in the world that very quickly, I mean immediately essentially within hours gets filtered into the price being paid for what we receive,” Watkins said.

Hog Farmers Worried

In Nevada, Iowa, Howard Hill has a farm with corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs. He markets 7,000 hogs each year and about a quarter of them will end up overseas. Hill says he has seen hog prices drop to the point where it may cost some farmers more to raise a pig than they can sell it for.

Trump Admits Impact

Trump responded with a patriotic message.

Saying that farmers “are great patriots,” Mr. Trump acknowledged Monday they may feel pinched by new Chinese tariffs aimed at the president’s political base, including levies targeting U.S. agricultural exports from Farm Belt states. He said that farmers “will be better off,” but added that “it will take a little while to get there.”

“We’ll make it up to them,” Mr. Trump said Monday at the start of a cabinet meeting at the White House. “And in the end they’re going to be much stronger than they are now.”

Trade War Foolishness

Note the irony of this madness.

China's retaliation is good for US consumers. Trump's tariffs, which tend to raise prices are bad for US consumers.

Get a Freezer

If you don't have a freezer, get one. $1.39 a pound for center-cut loin is an amazingly good price. The Meijer Sale runs through April 14.

Deals like this, albeit usually not quite this good, is why food cost inflation is way overstated for those smart enough to have a freezer.

Vegetarians may be a different story.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (35)
No. 1-25

Onions, celery, potatoes, dried beans, carrots, cabbage, romaine lettuce, etc. still cheap. If you want to buy baby spinach or quinoa for $10 or more per pound, well , there's a sucker born every minute. I haven't paid more than $2 per pound for boneless chicken breast or pork loin in 15years or more.


Trump is paying for the wall.


Mish -- serious question: What would Mish do, if Mish were in a position of influence?

Situation is that US tariffs are already very low on Chinese imports; Chinese tariff (and non-tariff barriers) to US exports are very high; unsurprisingly, the US trade deficit with China has become unsustainable, and the long-term costs of hollowing out the productive capacity of the US economy are becoming increasingly obvious.

What would Mish do? Would he completely eliminate the remaining minor US tariffs and pocket some short-term profits? Would he jawbone China to reduce their tariffs and non-tariff barriers? Would he do an Obama and go & play golf?


Mish has stated many times what he would do: unilaterally eliminate all tariffs.