Barbecues and Trade Disputes: Grills Cost More, Meat Less

U.S. consumers likely paid more for grills to cook their Independence Day bratwursts this year because of the U.S.-China trade war, but they paid less for the meat they put on it.

That’s because the trade spat between the world’s two largest economies has U.S. companies facing higher costs for metals and components, while U.S. agricultural exports to China have fallen off.

Grill manufacturers such as RH Peterson Co., which owns Fire Magic Grills and American Outdoor Grill, say they are struggling with higher prices for raw materials.

While the company has absorbed some of the costs of tariffs, it has raised prices on grills by almost 10 percent this year. Normal seasonal increases range between 1 and 4 percent each summer, said Jerry Scott, senior vice president of sales.

Meanwhile, Fourth of July meats were bountiful in U.S. grocery stores after U.S. farmers increased production and trade disputes limited exports.

At a market in Chicago, customers enjoyed “buy one, get one free” steak specials and $3.99-a-pound burgers last week.

Lean ground beef used in hamburgers costs $4.52, down from $4.65 last year, according to the USDA. Boneless New York strip steak costs $8.64 a pound, down from $9.75 a year ago.

Source: Reuters