Trading slows in US imported beef market

31 March 2016

There was less activity in the market for imported beef in the US this week, and generally slightly lower prices than the week before, according to the weekly report from the Steiner Consulting Group. This was particularly noticeable for Australian exporters, who are reportedly finding better offers for manufacturing beef (especially around 85CL) in some Asian markets. The expanding New Zealand cow kill is making their lean beef trimmings more competitive in the US.

The imported 90CL cow beef indicator slipped a further 1US¢ this week, to 186US¢/lb CIF (down 5.6A¢, to 540.4A¢/kg CIF). The ongoing rise in the A$ relative to the US$ is another inhibiting factor for the beef trade.

The US beef market appears to be in a similar (but opposite) situation to the large price increases of 2014, where the upward movements were self-perpetuating as end users tried to make sure they had enough product for the months ahead before the prices got even higher. At present, they appear to be well-covered for the coming months, and do not want to purchase more if prices appear to be moving lower. Cattle futures have also made sharp downward movements in the last couple of weeks, suggesting limited opportunity for the price of beef to rise over the course of the US summer.

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