US importers chasing lean beef

06 August 2015

The US imported beef market continued to climb this week, especially across leaner categories.  The imported 90CL cow beef indicator rose another 3.5US¢ this week, to 243.5US¢/lb CIF (up 8.1A¢, to 732.8A¢/kg CIF). This price is from the Steiner Consulting Group’s weekly survey of importers, reported for MLA, and is for product to be delivered within the next 7–45 days.

Most prices reported by Steiner were higher this week, but particularly for lean beef, while fat trim prices remain fairly low. Key reasons for the lean beef price continuing to rise include:

  • Ongoing low cow slaughter in the US, limiting domestic supplies of lean beef trimmings
  • Fed cattle slaughter being relatively high compared with cows – this results in more fat trim becoming available at a cheaper price, which requires lean beef to mix in ground beef formulations.
  • Some concern among importers about what effects the Australian quota management system will have on the trade – the Australian Department of Agriculture will distribute quota among exporters once it reaches 85% (75% had been passed as of early this week)

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