Light trading continues on US imported beef market

13 October 2016

Trading on the imported beef market in the US continues to be fairly light, with limited beef supplies from Australia and a slow start to the New Zealand production season. According to the Steiner Consulting Group’s weekly report commissioned by MLA, many US end users seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach, which has seen a reduction in forward business.

The imported 90CL beef indicator eased 3.5US¢ from week-ago levels, to 185US¢/lb CIF (down 7.4A¢, to 538.2A¢/kg CIF).

The decline in US fed cattle values, and subsequent seasonal decline in domestic grinding beef prices, has put further downward pressure on imported beef values.

The lower prices are largely underpinned by the expansion of US domestic beef production and competition from other meat proteins. Last week marked the largest fed cattle slaughter week in the US so far this year, and up 10% on year-ago levels. Furthermore, non-fed cattle (cow and bull) slaughter last week was up marginally year-on-year.

The USDA forecasts 2017 beef production to be 3.7% higher year-on-year, while pork and chicken production is projected to increase 3.8% and 2.2%, respectively.

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