US imported beef prices steady

17 July 2018

While the risk of a looming trade war saw volatility in US livestock markets this week, US imported beef prices remained stable.

Imported beef prices have been largely steady, however, market participants indicated there were a variety of prices reported depending on delivery time and country of origin. New Zealand slaughter looks to be running slightly higher than expected, with some of the excess product being directed to the US. The result is more lean grinding beef available in the US market and a discount of imported frozen lean beef compared to domestic fresh.

The imported 90CL beef indicator was up 3US¢ to US193¢/lb CIF (up AUD6.6¢ at AUD573.16¢/kg CIF).

In a very rocky week for US livestock and grain markets, futures prices have responded quite negatively to news that the US administration is prepared to escalate its trade war with China. Additionally, there is still no timeline for the resolution of the tariffs negotiations with NAFTA countries. So far, beef markets have been less affected than other commodities that face direct tariffs.

US fed cattle slaughter this week is estimated at 519,000 head, 4.2% higher than a year ago while non-fed slaughter at 131,000 head was 4% higher than last year and the highest non-fed weekly slaughter since April. Steiner estimates on feed inventories on July 1 to be 3.8% higher than a year ago.

Market highlights for the week ending 13th July

  • US livestock, dairy and grain futures markets were rattled during the week by prospects of an escalating trade war with China and higher tariffs on US pork and dairy products in Mexico
  • The uncertainty surrounding US export markets comes at a time of record supplies for beef, pork and chicken
  • Imported beef trade in the US has been slow, with prices steady to lower as more New Zealand beef has become available and end users see no rush to cover needs in the short to medium term
  • Steiner estimates cattle on feed inventories on July 1 to be 3.8% higher than a year ago.

View the Steiner Consulting US imported beef market weekly update

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