More positive moves in US beef market

09 July 2015

The US imported beef market was generally higher again this week, with importers and end users starting to look to secure supplies as they move through summer. There appears to be some recognition that the availability of lean beef may start to tighten in the next 2–3 months, which is helping move the market up. Indicators gathered by the Steiner Consulting Group in their weekly report for MLA showed a strong upward movement this week, which was further assisted in A$ terms by favourable currency movements. The 90CL cow beef indicator rose 4US¢, to 228US¢/lb CIF (up 25.9A¢, to 674.0A¢/kg CIF).

Supplies of lean beef produced domestically in the US remain relatively tight, but the domestic 90CL indicator has not moved significantly up or down for the last 12 months, while the imported price has been much more volatile. US cow and bull slaughter is still below year-ago levels, with no indication that it will start to increase in the near future. On the imported beef front, New Zealand cattle slaughter has started its seasonal decline, which usually bottoms out from late July until late October.

Australia remains the most likely source of imported beef for the US in the next few months, however there is now a balance that needs to be found between cattle slaughter and herd rebuilding, while cattle prices are at highs not seen in decades.

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