Change in direction for US imported beef prices

27 October 2016

Prices on the US imported beef market increased this week, partly due to market participants covering thin spot supplies but also reflective of stronger demand for grinding beef, as reported in the Steiner Consulting Group’s weekly update commissioned by MLA.

The imported 90CL beef indicator lifted 10US¢ from week-ago levels, to 198.5US¢/lb CIF (up 30.2A¢, to 574.1A¢/kg CIF). Compared to the same time last year, the indicator is up 6US¢.

With only a few days of October to go, Australian beef exports to the US (as at 25 October, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources) are at 8,745 tonnes swt – down considerably from the October volume last year of 22,072 tonnes swt. Shipments from New Zealand to the US are reportedly also well-below year-ago levels, and while imports from Mexico and Canada are higher, there is a noticeable lack of lean imported grinding beef in market. As a result, some US market participants have been pressured to lift their bids in order to secure overseas product.

However, Australian cattle slaughter has increased over the past couple of weeks, and New Zealand kill levels are anticipated to start to ramp up towards the end of the year, in line with the seasonal build of supplies. 

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