Decline in US domestic beef prices brings imported market lower

06 April 2017

US imported beef prices eased this week, due to softer prices for domestic lean grinding beef, however limited spot availability out of Australia and New Zealand continues.

In the weekly update commissioned by MLA, the Steiner Consulting Group reported that the imported 90CL beef indicator eased 3US¢ from week-ago levels, to 211.5US¢/lb CIF (up 3.5A¢, to 614.32A¢/kg CIF).

Prices for domestic lean grinding beef have moved higher in 2017, but did ease slightly this week. US fed cattle prices have been an influencing factor on the price of domestic grinding beef, historically tracking one and other closely. Steiner Consulting Group notes that an increase in fed cattle prices reflects both good export and domestic demand in the US. Despite a forecast decline in futures prices in the coming month, which would likely bring domestic grinding prices lower, the market will largely depend on seasonal conditions and the level of imported product available.  

Australian beef exports to the US for March dropped 16% year-on-year, totalling 21,972 tonnes shipped weight (swt), but shipments did increase 27% month-on-month. High Australian cattle prices, improved moisture conditions in many key supply regions and a rebuilding herd have contributed to light offerings from Australia, and availability will further be affected by the upcoming public holidays (Easter and Anzac Day). New Zealand slaughter for the week ending 11 March was down 29.9% year-on-year, and Steiner Consulting Group forecast exports to be tracking 10-15% lower for the month. New Zealand slaughter is anticipated to pick up in late April.

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