US lean beef market continues to slide

29 October 2015

US Imported prices were divergent this week, with lean beef continuing to slide, while fat beef trim was firm to slightly higher.

According to the weekly report prepared for MLA by the Steiner Consulting Group, the falling imported beef prices continue to reflect the uncertain direction of domestic lean beef prices in the short term. The anticipated increase in supplies over the next few months is also causing concern.

Imported beef prices are now back to 2011-2013 levels, although supplies of imported beef during that period were much lower than at present.

The indicative imported 90CL cow beef price was 192.5US¢/lb CIF this week, down 9¢/lb CIF. In A$ terms, the price decreased 23.8A¢, to 590.3A¢/kg CIF.

Typically in the US, cow and bull slaughter increases during October and November, and this year seems to be on track to follow the trend. The Steiner Consulting Group reported that last week, cow and bull slaughter was 108,000 head (compared to less than 100,000 head per week in July and August), and is expected to continue moving higher into November. In the short term, it is likely that the increase in slaughter will bring more lean beef onto the market and place pressure on domestic beef prices.

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