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Japan Slaps 50% Tariff on Some U.S. Beef -- Update

Japan said Friday it would impose a temporary 50% tariff on frozen beef from the U.S. and several other countries, a move Washington said could inflame trade tensions with an important partner.

The action, which Tokyo officials described as a required response to a recent import surge, came after President Donald Trump named Japan as one of the countries contributing to the U.S. trade deficit.

Another Problem With America: Our Skinny Pigs Make Lousy Bacon

The day Aaron Foster finally got the full allotment of pork carcasses he'd ordered for his butcher shop in Brooklyn, the anxiety he'd felt during five long months of waiting melted away.

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"These pigs had red, red, red meat," says the 35-year-old shop owner, "and amazing, thick back fat."

For decades, hog farmers have been breeding animals to produce a leaner, pinker, lower-fat variety of meat that won't instantly clog their customers' arteries. Lately, however, the strategy has run into an obstacle few people saw coming: a legion of foodies who think skinny pigs make for dry, bland meat.

STORIES OF INTEREST

Cheap Eggs Flood U.S. Grocery Stores

A glut of eggs is putting pressure on suppliers and farmers who are struggling to win back business two years after the worst bout of avian influenza in U.S. history devastated the egg-laying flock.

Poultry farms in the U.S. have fully restocked and rebuilt egg supplies since the outbreak but demand hasn't kept up. Some buyers who moved to alternative options during the outbreak haven't returned. Egg prices are near a decade low, a situation that cheers shoppers in grocery aisles but is spurring losses for industry giants and farmers alike.

USDA's Perdue: Mexico Not Acting on Ag Trade Shifts -- Market Talk

11:16 ET - USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue says he's hearing a lot of talk about Mexico shifting its purchases of US agricultural commodities to other countries, but not seeing much action so far. As President Trump has moved to renegotiate NAFTA after lambasting US-Mexico trade policy, Mexico has arranged agricultural trade missions to Brazil and Argentina, while dialing down imports of US-produced chicken, corn and soybean meal. Perdue, fresh off visiting with his Mexican counterpart, says "they may act as if they are having conversations," but "I did not get any indication they are seriously considering that." (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

FUTURES MARKETS

Japan Beef Tariffs Shake Cattle Futures

Cattle futures slid after Japan said it was temporarily hiking tariffs on frozen beef imports from the U.S.

Japanese officials said on Friday they were raising duties on U.S. frozen beef exports to 50% from 38.5%.

Japan has become the largest international destination for U.S. beef, accounting for around a quarter of exports. With recent U.S. Department of Agriculture data forecasting growing U.S. cattle herds, analysts were concerned that disruption to beef exports could leave the domestic market oversupplied and depress prices.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jul 28

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Jul 28 +$30.79 +$ 80.94

Jul 27 +$29.67 +$ 83.48

Jul 26 +$32.29 +$ 85.15

* Based on Iowa State University's latest estimated cost of production.

A positive number indicates a processing margin above the cost of

production of the animals.

Beef-O-Meter

This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite

values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices.

Beef

For Today Choice 103.6

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 103.6

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday fell 21 cents per hundred pounds, to $206.22, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 16 cents per hundred pounds, to $196.82. The total load count was 94. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.18, to $98.05 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 28, 2017 17:18 ET (21:18 GMT)