More interest from US buyers for lean beef

21 January 2016

There was a small uptick in most lean beef categories reported by the Steiner Consulting Group in their weekly summary for MLA, as the market appears to be running closer to spot needs. The 90CL cow beef indicator lifted 2US¢, to 179.5US¢/lb CIF (up 11.4A¢, to 573.9A¢/kg CIF), while all other categories were at least steady to slightly higher.

The report makes note of the slow Australian cattle kill in recent weeks, due to holiday closures, and with Australia Day interruptions next week, there will potentially be another week with less beef ready to ship to the US. New Zealand bull slaughter, which competes with Australian lean beef, has been high through summer, but is expected to drop by mid- to late-February.

US buyers are reportedly fairly positive about purchasing for March and April needs, but are anticipating prices will start to decline from May, as US fed beef supplies start to increase again. The return of the summer grilling season may offset some of that growth in supplies.

Economic conditions are also a major topic in this week’s report, with the global slowdown a concern for later in 2016. If some larger markets in Asia start to reduce their demand for imported beef, this would potentially put downward pressure on the overall beef market if and when it happens.

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