Supplies drive US imported beef prices higher

30 March 2017

Tight supplies out of Australia and New Zealand (NZ) and growing cull cow and bull slaughter in the US continue to drive price dynamics in the US imported beef market, according the weekly update by Steiner Consulting Group commissioned by MLA. The imported 90CL beef indicator increased 1US¢ this week, to 214.5US¢/lb CIF (up 4.5A¢, to 618.5A¢/kg CIF). The US imported beef market has steadily strengthened throughout 2017, with the imported 90CL beef indicator increasing twelve of the thirteen weeks so far this year.

With US cull cow and bull slaughter tracking above the previous two years but below 2013 levels – reflecting the dramatic shifts in cow-calf profitability over that period – and US imports so far this year from Australia and NZ back 39% and 10% year-on-year, respectively, imported beef prices continue to approach their domestic counterparts. Steiner Consulting Group quoted domestic 90CL beef prices tracked between 216US¢ to 221US¢ this week, with the top end up 2US¢ on the previous week and 3US¢/lb on last year. In comparison, the 90CL indicator is up about 28US¢/lb on this time last year.

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