Also contributing to market pressure has been the labor strife on the docks.
It is estimated the ten day work stoppage cost the U-S more than 19 billion dollars in goods and productivity. And, that week-and-a-half of idle ports is expected to affect the marketplace for some time. Shortages of Asian-produced products such as toys and shoes are anticipated to surface later this year.
The timing has been exceptionally bad for agriculture. A perishable fall harvest has been sitting on the docks for more than a week. And the situation has exacerbated the build up of beef and pork in cold storage due in part to a chicken dispute with Russia earlier this year. Asia consumes two-thirds of all U-S agricultural exports including more than half of all beef and pork sent abroad. Forty percent of all exported wheat and a quarter of all foreign bound grain leaves the U-S through West Coast ports. Corn exports, which largely move through Gulf Coast ports, have remained relatively unaffected.