US imported beef price update

14 August 2018

US imported beef prices were mixed last week, as fatter trim prices lost ground compared to the week prior and leaner product was thinly traded as New Zealand supplies near a seasonal low.

However, while New Zealand slaughter has been higher than normal for this time of year, overall volumes remain lower year-on-year. Reduced imports from Uruguay and the sustained demand from Asian markets could further limit imported grinding beef volumes.

The imported 90CL beef indicator was unchanged this week at US192.5¢/lb CIF (up AUD2¢ at AUD575.33¢/kg CIF).

Imported 90CL (chemical lean) product has traded at a discount to domestic 90CL beef, underpinned by strong demand for domestic fresh lean beef. However, as retail and foodservice demand for chilled product starts to decline heading into the US autumn, imported prices could find support. Furthermore, increased competition from cheaper proteins (pork and chicken) will pressure lean beef prices.

Market highlights for the week ending 10th August:

  • US non-fed slaughter, which includes both cows and bulls, last week, was estimated at 128,000 head, 5% higher than a year ago and 15% higher than the five-year average. In the last four weeks, non-fed slaughter has averaged 7.5% above year ago levels.
  • Fed cattle slaughter last week was estimated at 517,000 head, just 0.5% higher than last year but 16,000 head higher than the previous week. In the last four weeks, fed slaughter has averaged the same as last year despite significantly more cattle on feed.

View the Steiner Consulting US imported beef market weekly update

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