Yesterday I saw an article from Bloomberg that talked about how a meat plant in South Dakota had an incidence of Wuhan Flu. Smithfield shut the plant down. South Dakota doesn’t have a lot of the same restrictions as other states. It’s pretty Republican there.
The tone of the article was that America is in danger of running out of food because of Wuhan Flu. Here is a quote.
“The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply. It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers. These farmers have nowhere to send their animals,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer, for Smithfield.
You know who owns Smithfield right? If you guessed the Chinese you’d be right. As we have learned, if you are owned or work for the Chinese you don’t have freedom of speech. What’s the executive going to say?
Reporters just aren’t that smart these days. They have zero curiosity. Not only that, most of report via the blue lens which only furthers their bias. Wouldn’t you think they might fact check Mr. Sullivan? Wouldn’t they look at a market to see if what was going on in the market matched the statements of executives?
Probably not since we all have been taught markets are broken, rigged, fixed or something else. The truth is free markets allocate resources and disseminate information better than any centralized authority.
I used to trade hogs. The hog market might be a good place to look to see what was happening with the nation’s meat supply. We’d watch Smithfield numbers pretty closely. My friends that still trade meat said, “the freezers are full.” If the plant was up and running, there would be nowhere to put the slaughtered meat.
I retweeted the article on Twitter and received quick replies from meat traders. Here is a great thread.
Beef packing plant have made enough money the last few years to go ahead and pay whatever it takes to hire uninflected workers…
They aren’t doing this IMO, shutdowns aren’t really a bad thing for them financially, they’ll just do repairs and the cattle are cheaper when restart
— Jerod T. McDaniel (@jerodmcdaniel) April 13, 2020
Another trader who protects his tweets said, “they wouldn’t be throwing trim in the dumpster & grinding bellies if there was a shortage”. In case you don’t know, bellies are turned into bacon. No one doesn’t like bacon. Heck bacon is high in selenium which is supposed to supercharge your immunity system. Might be helpful fighting Wuhan Flu.
Let’s look at a price chart of the futures. This isn’t perfect but without paying, it’s the best I can do. Here is a direct link to CME live prices. CME went lock limit down, meaning the contract didn’t even trade. Prices fell off a cliff and are almost half of what they were.
If you look at the overall market, restaurants are closed and there’s no demand. People are cooking at home, but pork isn’t hard to find in the grocery store. In my experience, chicken is selling a lot faster since it’s cheaper protein. People always prefer beef to pork and there are a lot of religious dietary restrictions for pork.
It’s really too bad that reporters don’t pay attention to facts and don’t do the hard work of actually digging through the story to report the facts instead of shaping the news.
Lean Hogs Futures – Price & Chart” alt=”" />
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