US imported beef prices fluctuate

22 October 2017

US imported lean grinding beef prices moved lower at the beginning of last week, before finding some stability as the week progressed. US end users had to contend with reduced spot availability for lean and extra lean grinding beef, with limited offerings from both Australia and New Zealand.

The imported 90CL beef indicator eased 5US¢ from the previous week’s levels, to 204.5.US¢/lb CIF (down 16A¢, to 574.48A¢/kg CIF).

Steiner Consulting Group report that the supply of imported grinding beef typically declines at this time of year, underpinned by limited availability from New Zealand and Uruguay – this year being no different.

In the short term, retail beef demand remains quite robust but forward beef sales have been slowing down. Large foodservice operators continue to face growing competition from grocery stores, delivery services and new concept restaurants which are increasingly focusing menu items on attributes such as local, fresh grassfed beef.

Highlights from the week ending 20th October:

  • CME fed cattle futures maintain as much as a 10% premium for next spring, despite an increasing supply of cattle in the pipeline.
  • US feedlots placed 13.5% more cattle on feed year-on-year (September placements), well outside the range of expectations, possibly challenging forward premiums.
  • US fed cattle slaughter for the week was estimated at 503,000 head, 4.8% higher than a year ago.

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

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