NEW YORK (Real Money) -- Grrr! Why does all news have to be presented so negatively? Last week, Vladimir Putin may have done the single most positive thing he could do for the American consumers' wallet: He banned U.S. chicken imports. Immediately, the outpourings were negative. The Washington Post pointed out that the ban is "also starting to negatively affect a number of U.S. food industries," particularly chicken; we send $300 million in chickens to Russia every year.
The chicken industry? Is that the real ramification for something that is eaten by tens of millions of people in this country? The pain in the chicken farmer's budget?
This Putin-hurts-chicken-farmers story is a classic example of how a huge positive gets turned by the press into something dastardly. Do you know that ever since Putin put this through, the price of all of our foodstuffs have been in virtual freefall? Do you know that hog futures, which had been soaring not that long ago, are now tumbling the maximum amount allowed and are back to where they were March 18? Do you know that the stubbornly high price of cattle is now crashing, as a newfound, Putin-inspired chicken glut has made poultry too competitive? Two weeks ago, we thought cattle could only go up in price. No more.
It's a Putin windfall and we better start acknowledging it as such and not fret about the poor chicken farmer.
We are now in the midst of a wholesale retreat in prices for virtually every commodity I follow, save cheese. Grains, hogs, cattle, poultry, they are all getting hammered. The building blocks of the American diet are tumbling down in price. Which brings me back to a bigger point: the impact of chicken on Fed policy and the ideologues who bash the Fed out of anger or profit.