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美国肉类价格大涨,背后有两个因素

美国肉类价格大涨,背后有两个因素

MEGAN LEONHARDT 2021年10月15日
拜登政府还将价格上涨归咎于肉类加工公司的高度集中。

美国人平均每年消费大约144磅肉。但随着牛肉、猪肉和鸡肉等主要肉类的价格在过去一年中大幅上涨,这一数字或将发生变化。最新的消费者价格指数显示,过去一年中,肉类、家禽、鱼类和蛋类的价格上涨了10.5%——仅牛肉一项的涨幅就达到了17.6%。

为什么价格急剧上涨?因素有很多,但其中大多数都与供应链和劳动力市场的问题有关。有趣的是,在新冠疫情爆发初期爆发的供应短缺和高价格背后,正是这些问题在作祟,但是,根据堪萨斯城联邦储备银行(Kansas City Fed)的首席农业经济学家内森·考夫曼的说法,这些因素仍在对当前形势构成压力,尽管近几天出现了扭转迹象。

早前,肉类加工厂出现新冠病毒的扩散,减缓了供应链。企业们需要保持员工们的社交距离,有些工厂甚至不得不暂时关闭。考夫曼说,这曾经造成了严重的瓶颈,但在美国民众现在所看到的商品价格持续上涨,与这一因素并没有多大的关系。

考夫曼说,在目前的情况下,商品价格的上涨更多由经济因素驱动——高需求和有限供应。“企业重新开门,人们重新开始流动,导致很多物品的需求都出现了大幅增加,至少目前来说是如此。”他对《财富》杂志表示,“但是,一些企业的定位决定了,他们只能提供小于等于目前需求量的商品或服务。”

考夫曼补充说,事实上,整个肉类供应链目前都面临着许多限制。劳动力渗透到各个层面——农场,肉类加工厂,甚至是商店货架。

需求的增加也影响了肉类储备。根据美国农场局联合会(American Farm Bureau Federation)的数据,尽管8月份冷冻牛肉和猪肉供应水平略有上升,但库存水平仍远低于2020年;与2017年至2019年的水平相比,库存则大幅下降。“一般来说,库存枯竭是造成瓶颈的原因。”考夫曼说,饲料成本其实也在上升,但这只影响了肉类总成本的“相对较小的一部分”。

供应链问题也在起作用。Freight Right Global Logistics首席执行官卡扎延表示,几乎每个行业的每个方面,都存在着基础设施问题。“船上的空间,港口和仓库,卡车和司机的短缺……存在太多的漏洞了,无法一一列举。”他对《财富》杂志表示。现在跨越太平洋的货物运输需要两倍的时间,而且许多人一旦抵达港口就会遇到延误,这些货物被运往仓库和零售商的时间甚至会更长。在肉类行业,从饲料到肉类产品进出仓库和杂货店的运输,这些延误影响了方方面面。

拜登政府还将价格上涨归咎于肉类加工公司的高度集中。他们指出,只有四家大型企业集团控制着牛肉、猪肉和家禽的大部分市场。最近的一份报告还指出,在过去的一年里,许多大型生产商,如史密斯菲尔德食品公司(Smithfield Foods)、JBS公司、全国牛肉包装公司(National Beef Packing Co.)、泰森食品公司(Tyson Foods)和嘉吉公司(Cargill),都解决了诉讼和监管调查,这些调查指控生产商合谋操纵肉价。

但是,这些案件中许多涉及的索赔可以追溯到若干年前,专家们对这是否是肉价上涨的主要因素持怀疑态度。"普渡大学(Purdue University)农业经济学系主任杰森·勒斯克认为:“在过去5到10年里,基本结构和所有权模式没有发生任何有意义的改变,所以很难看到有什么变化会突然使现在的合谋行为更有可能发生。”

考夫曼说,相对较少的企业的确提供了美国可供销售的肉类的很大份额,但这仍然不是原牛价相对较低,牛肉价格却相当高的主要原因。

由于美国部分地区出现干旱,很多生产商正在清算他们的畜群。“从经济学的角度来看,这会使得价格更低,但是在(供应链)中间仍然存在制约和瓶颈,另一却是需求强劲,这就是为什么你看到牛肉价格高,同时你也看到牛的价格低。”他说。

将会持续多久?

在正常环境下,当出现干旱或其他与天气有关的事件时,对价格的连锁反应通常持续一两年。但现在并不完全是一个正常的环境。考夫曼说:“我们必须牢记其他一些限制因素。”他指出,劳动力短缺是一个大问题,供应链的中断和延误也是。

延误并不会很快消失。卡扎延说,目前港口的拥堵(一些船只停靠延误了四周)已经持续了18个月。“如果进口完全停止,可能需要6至10周时间才能完全清理完毕积压的库存。”他补充说。鉴于库存处于创纪录的低位,而且消费者需求很可能持续到明年年中,延误可能会一直持续到2023年。

考夫曼认为,由于肉类价格至少在一定程度上与经济中正在发生的更广泛的情况有关,可能要到明年某个时候,我们才会开始看到价格稍微稳定。(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

美国人平均每年消费大约144磅肉。但随着牛肉、猪肉和鸡肉等主要肉类的价格在过去一年中大幅上涨,这一数字或将发生变化。最新的消费者价格指数显示,过去一年中,肉类、家禽、鱼类和蛋类的价格上涨了10.5%——仅牛肉一项的涨幅就达到了17.6%。

为什么价格急剧上涨?因素有很多,但其中大多数都与供应链和劳动力市场的问题有关。有趣的是,在新冠疫情爆发初期爆发的供应短缺和高价格背后,正是这些问题在作祟,但是,根据堪萨斯城联邦储备银行(Kansas City Fed)的首席农业经济学家内森·考夫曼的说法,这些因素仍在对当前形势构成压力,尽管近几天出现了扭转迹象。

早前,肉类加工厂出现新冠病毒的扩散,减缓了供应链。企业们需要保持员工们的社交距离,有些工厂甚至不得不暂时关闭。考夫曼说,这曾经造成了严重的瓶颈,但在美国民众现在所看到的商品价格持续上涨,与这一因素并没有多大的关系。

考夫曼说,在目前的情况下,商品价格的上涨更多由经济因素驱动——高需求和有限供应。“企业重新开门,人们重新开始流动,导致很多物品的需求都出现了大幅增加,至少目前来说是如此。”他对《财富》杂志表示,“但是,一些企业的定位决定了,他们只能提供小于等于目前需求量的商品或服务。”

考夫曼补充说,事实上,整个肉类供应链目前都面临着许多限制。劳动力渗透到各个层面——农场,肉类加工厂,甚至是商店货架。

需求的增加也影响了肉类储备。根据美国农场局联合会(American Farm Bureau Federation)的数据,尽管8月份冷冻牛肉和猪肉供应水平略有上升,但库存水平仍远低于2020年;与2017年至2019年的水平相比,库存则大幅下降。“一般来说,库存枯竭是造成瓶颈的原因。”考夫曼说,饲料成本其实也在上升,但这只影响了肉类总成本的“相对较小的一部分”。

供应链问题也在起作用。Freight Right Global Logistics首席执行官卡扎延表示,几乎每个行业的每个方面,都存在着基础设施问题。“船上的空间,港口和仓库,卡车和司机的短缺……存在太多的漏洞了,无法一一列举。”他对《财富》杂志表示。现在跨越太平洋的货物运输需要两倍的时间,而且许多人一旦抵达港口就会遇到延误,这些货物被运往仓库和零售商的时间甚至会更长。在肉类行业,从饲料到肉类产品进出仓库和杂货店的运输,这些延误影响了方方面面。

拜登政府还将价格上涨归咎于肉类加工公司的高度集中。他们指出,只有四家大型企业集团控制着牛肉、猪肉和家禽的大部分市场。最近的一份报告还指出,在过去的一年里,许多大型生产商,如史密斯菲尔德食品公司(Smithfield Foods)、JBS公司、全国牛肉包装公司(National Beef Packing Co.)、泰森食品公司(Tyson Foods)和嘉吉公司(Cargill),都解决了诉讼和监管调查,这些调查指控生产商合谋操纵肉价。

但是,这些案件中许多涉及的索赔可以追溯到若干年前,专家们对这是否是肉价上涨的主要因素持怀疑态度。"普渡大学(Purdue University)农业经济学系主任杰森·勒斯克认为:“在过去5到10年里,基本结构和所有权模式没有发生任何有意义的改变,所以很难看到有什么变化会突然使现在的合谋行为更有可能发生。”

考夫曼说,相对较少的企业的确提供了美国可供销售的肉类的很大份额,但这仍然不是原牛价相对较低,牛肉价格却相当高的主要原因。

由于美国部分地区出现干旱,很多生产商正在清算他们的畜群。“从经济学的角度来看,这会使得价格更低,但是在(供应链)中间仍然存在制约和瓶颈,另一却是需求强劲,这就是为什么你看到牛肉价格高,同时你也看到牛的价格低。”他说。

将会持续多久?

在正常环境下,当出现干旱或其他与天气有关的事件时,对价格的连锁反应通常持续一两年。但现在并不完全是一个正常的环境。考夫曼说:“我们必须牢记其他一些限制因素。”他指出,劳动力短缺是一个大问题,供应链的中断和延误也是。

延误并不会很快消失。卡扎延说,目前港口的拥堵(一些船只停靠延误了四周)已经持续了18个月。“如果进口完全停止,可能需要6至10周时间才能完全清理完毕积压的库存。”他补充说。鉴于库存处于创纪录的低位,而且消费者需求很可能持续到明年年中,延误可能会一直持续到2023年。

考夫曼认为,由于肉类价格至少在一定程度上与经济中正在发生的更广泛的情况有关,可能要到明年某个时候,我们才会开始看到价格稍微稳定。(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

The average American consumes around 144 pounds of meat each year, but that may shift as staples like beef, pork, and chicken have become a lot more expensive over the past year. The latest consumer price index shows the cost of meats, poultry, fish, and eggs has risen 10.5% in the past year—17.6% for beef alone.

But why are prices increasing sharply now? A number of factors are contributing to the inflated prices, but most revolve around supply-chain issues and labor challenges. Interestingly, these issues were behind the shortages and high prices consumers saw early in the COVID-19 outbreak, but Kansas City Fed’s principal agriculture economist Nathan Kauffman says those factors are still weighing on the situation, albeit with a slight twist these days.

Early on, the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in meatpacking plants slowed the supply chain, since companies needed to make social distancing adjustments—and some even had to close down temporarily. This created significant bottlenecks, Kauffman says, but those factors are not so much at play in the continued price increases Americans are seeing at grocery store shelves now.

Instead, Kauffman says it’s more driven by economic factors at this point—high demand and limited supply. “The reopening of businesses and people moving about a little bit more has caused a pretty significant increase in demand for lots of things, at least for the time being,” he tells Fortune. “Some businesses, though, are only positioned to be able to deliver so much of the goods or services that are ultimately being demanded right now.”

In fact, there are a number of constraints that the entire meat supply chain faces right now, he added. Labor is one that permeates every level—at the farms, at the meatpacking plants, and even in getting the products to the store shelves.

The increased demand is also affecting meat reserves. Although the level of frozen beef and pork supplies was up slightly in August, stock remains much lower than in 2020 and considerably depressed compared to levels seen from 2017 to 2019, according to American Farm Bureau Federation. “Generally speaking, depleted inventories have been something that has been driving bottlenecks,” Kauffman says. The cost of feed is also up, but that's contributing only to a "relatively small amount" of the overall cost increases in meat, Kauffman says.

Supply-chain issues are also at play. There are infrastructure issues in every aspect of nearly every industry, says Robert Khachatryan, CEO of Freight Right Global Logistics. “From space on ships, in ports, and in warehouses to truck and driver shortages, there are too many vulnerabilities to list,” he tells Fortune. It’s now taking twice as long to transport goods across the Pacific—and then many are dealing with delays once they get to port and even more when faced with transporting those goods to warehouses and retailers. In the meat industry, those delays have affected everything from feed to transporting meat products to and from both warehouses and grocery stores.

The Biden administration also has blamed the high concentration of meat processing companies for higher prices, noting that just four large conglomerates control the majority of the market for beef, pork, and poultry. A recent report also noted that over the past year, many of the big producers—Smithfield Foods, JBS, National Beef Packing Co., Tyson Foods, and Cargill—have settled lawsuits and regulatory investigations alleging producers colluded to fix meat prices.

However, many of those cases involved claims going back a number of years. And experts are skeptical that this is a major factor in rising meat prices. “The basic structure and ownership patterns haven’t changed in any meaningful way in the past five to 10 years, so it is hard to see what changed that would suddenly make collusion more likely now,” says Jayson Lusk, head of the department of agricultural economics at Purdue University.

There are a relatively small number of businesses that do provide a large share of the meat that's available for sale in the United States, Kauffman says, but that’s not the primary reason we're seeing relatively low cattle prices and quite high beef prices.

Because of drought in parts of the U.S., lots of producers are liquidating their herds. “The economics of that suggests that the prices will be lower, but there's still constraints and bottlenecks in the middle [of the supply chain] with strong demand on the other side, which is why you're seeing high beef prices while you're also seeing low cattle prices,” he says.

How long will this last?

In a normal environment when there’s a drought or another weather-related event, the ripple effects on price usually last a year or two. But this is not exactly a normal environment. “We do have to keep in mind some of the other constraints,” Kauffman says, noting that the labor shortages are a big one, along with supply-chain disruptions and delays.

And those delays aren’t going away anytime soon. Khachatryan says the current port congestion—some ships are seeing a four-week delay to dock—has been building up for about 18 months. “If imports were to stop completely it would probably take six to 10 weeks to completely clean up the backlog,” he adds. Given the record low inventories and the fact that consumer demand is likely to remain strong through the middle of next year, the delays could last well into 2023.

And since meat prices are, at least in part, tied to what’s occurring more broadly happening in the economy, it might be some time next year maybe we'll start to see a bit more stabilization, Kauffman says.

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