Imported beef market continues to rise

18 February 2016


The market for imported lean beef in the US moved higher again this week, especially on the leaner end of the manufacturing and trimmings spectrum. There was a large jump in 95CL bull meat, while the imported 90CL cow beef indicator rose another 2.5US¢, to 196.5US¢/lb CIF (up 4.1A¢, to 606.9A¢/kg CIF). Fattier trimmings and whole cuts were generally cheaper this week, according to the latest survey of importers reported by the Steiner Consulting Group (SCG).

The SCG report notes that most of the major suppliers of lean beef out of Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay are only offering limited volumes, due to limited supplies (as in Australia) or because exporters are willing to wait for the market to rise a bit further.

Where will the US buy beef from in 2016?

An interesting exercise carried out by SCG this week was to look at the potential changes in the volume of beef imported to the US from the main exporting countries. The USDA forecasts US beef imports to drop 15.5% in 2016, but doesn’t go into detail as to where the imported beef will come from. The Steiner Group forecasts the largest changes to be a 25% drop in beef imported from Australia and a 17% fall in beef from Mexico – both largely supply driven. Imports from NZ and Canada are also forecast lower, but to a much smaller degree. The only forecast increases are for very small suppliers of imported beef, with the potential for Brazilian volumes to jump if some of their plants gain approval to start trading fresh and frozen beef.

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