US imported beef market strengthens under limited supplies

11 February 2016

The US imported beef market was higher again for most lean beef categories this week, according to the latest survey of importers reported by the Steiner Consulting Group for MLA. In contrast, the cuts trade was slightly cheaper, after a solid month of holding its value.

The weekly report from Steiner indicated that exporters from Australia and NZ did not have large volumes of lean beef available, while US end users are trying to ensure they have sufficient supplies for spring demand. At the same time, the cheap fat trim market is helping keep the meat block formulation cheaper, allowing dearer bids on lean product. This week, the 90CL imported cow beef indicator rose 3.5US¢, to 194US¢/lb CIF (up 12.3A¢, to 603.9A¢/kg CIF).

While the current lean beef market is moving higher, there are expectations that prices will drop later in the year when the US cow cull begins from around April or May, and larger numbers of fed cattle are marketed from feedlots.

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