Slow week for beef in US import market

20 August 2015

The market for imported beef in the US was slightly cheaper this week, across most categories, with less interest from some US end users. Contributing to this is the drop in domestic lean beef prices over the last couple of weeks, which suggests that there may not be as large an autumn beef price increase as normal this year.

The latest weekly report from the Steiner Consulting Group notes that cattle and beef prices in the spot market have traded cheaper over the last few weeks, and futures markets are not pointing towards a significant rise – although they remain well above historic averages. In addition, there is an expectation that US cow slaughter will start to rise in the next month or so, but still far below typical autumn cull rates.

The imported 90CL cow beef indicator was 0.5US¢ lower this week, on 242.5US¢/lb CIF (up 0.4A¢, to 726.5A¢/kg CIF). Beef availability from NZ remains tight, with the cattle kill having just reached its seasonal trough. Australian beef continues to be exported in large volumes, and is getting closer to reaching the 85% trigger day, at which point the Australian Department of Agriculture will distribute the remainder of the quota. As at 14 August, 79.6% of US beef quota had been allocated to exporters.

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