US imported and domestic beef prices trend higher

09 March 2017

US imported beef prices continued to trade very firm this week, supported by the robust demand from regular end users and the limited availability of supplies in the spot market.  

In the weekly update commissioned by MLA, the Steiner Consulting Group reported that the imported 90CL beef indicator increased 2US¢ from week-ago levels, to 208US¢/lb CIF (up 8A¢, to 603.98A¢/kg CIF).

Steiner Consulting Group reports that prices for US domestic lean grinding beef have also moved higher this week, which has further supported the increase in the price of US imported beef prices. While it is not uncommon for domestic prices to increase moving into spring, Steiner Consulting Group comments that the increase this year has been at a much faster pace than the normal seasonal trend. The demand for grinding beef in the US is much higher than a year ago but there is also stronger demand across all competing proteins.

Ongoing supply constraints out of Australia and New Zealand continue to restrict the availability of product in the short term. Steiner Consulting Group comments that a number of market participants were reporting limited offerings from New Zealand, with an increasing number of New Zealand packers looking to offer product for delivery in May. Abundant rainfall across New Zealand has led to lower than expected slaughter numbers – the latest slaughter data available show numbers are tracking 7% below the five year average.

Despite limited supplies at present, Steiner Consulting Group report that there is stronger competition for Australian product in several Asian markets. However, the report suggests that a stronger US dollar and more beef available from South American countries could contribute to more Australian product delivered to the US in the coming months.

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