Weakness remains in the US beef market

07 April 2016

The US beef and cattle markets generally drifted lower again this week, with end users of imported beef waiting to see any definite price signals before taking a position for summer stock. Adding to their uncertainty, US cattle futures prices have moved lower in recent weeks in a volatile market.

One of the few imported beef categories to record an increase this week in the Steiner Consulting Group’s weekly report for MLA was the 90CL cow beef indicator, which lifted 3.5US¢ this week, to 189.5US¢/lb CIF (up 11.8A¢, to 549.5A¢/kg CIF). Volumes at these higher prices are relatively low – a result of the lower Australian cattle slaughter. New Zealand exporters are reportedly offering cheaper beef than Australian traders at present.

US cow slaughter, which provides a similar product to the lean meat from Australia for the manufacturing market, is running slightly above last year’s levels, but is not expected to lift significantly until 2018 – although unfavourable weather could bring those higher numbers forward.

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