US imported beef prices edge higher

19 March 2018

US imported beef prices lifted this week as a result of limited spot availability and heightened activity from US end users looking to secure product.

The imported 90CL beef indicator edged 0.5US¢ higher to 212.5US¢/lb CIF (up close to 1A¢ at 598.95A¢/kg CIF).


US importers are anticipating the seasonal increase in cow slaughter from New Zealand. Slaughter numbers are expected to pick up in April following a reduction in February and March, as good moisture conditions restricted turnoff.  New Zealand slaughter in February was back 19% year-on-year.

US domestic beef supply growth in the last few weeks has been reportedly subdued. However, this has provided support to the beef cutout value but also created some uncertainty around the supply of beef that will come to market in the months ahead. Steiner Consulting Group forecast marketing rates to be only 1% higher in February – as the placement of lighter cattle into feedlots will take longer for market ready weights to be reached.

 Highlights from the week ending 16th March:

  • Cattle futures continued to decline this week even as the beef cutout gained ground and remains higher than a year ago.
  • Primary concern of futures traders is the slowdown in slaughter and the possibility that more cattle will need to be marketed in April, May and June.
  • US beef exports in January were 15% higher than a year ago and are expected to be up 12% in February.

Click here to view the Steiner Consulting US imported beef market weekly update.

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