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High Spring Beef Prices Forecast

08 April 2014

GLOBAL – Strong Chinese demand for beef will maintain market fundamentals for the second quarter of 2014, say agribusiness analysts at Rabobank.

Firm buying will be met with further tightening of supply as adverse weather plagues production in Australia and Brazil and herd retention constrains US output.

China’s imports are not expected to grow at 2013’s rate but are expected to expand due to lack of farmer interest in government-backed production schemes and.

Australia’s confirmed Chinese access for chilled fresh beef and a possibly opening into Brazil were cited as bullish factors.

Albert Vernooij of Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research team said: “Prospects for the global beef industry remains positive in Q2, with further possible upside due to continuing pressured beef supply and scarce supply of competing proteins which will continue to impact competitive positions.”

He added: “Brazilian cattle prices and exports have surged to record levels, and Australian droughts have encouraged historically high slaughter levels to meet global demand.”

Regional Outlooks


Volatility was the biggest factor impacting the U.S. cattle complex in Q1 2014. The impact on the hog market due to the rapid spread of PEDv will be the wildcard in the coming months. The shortage in hog slaughter could have a significant impact on total meat supplies, strengthening beef demand during the spring grilling season and into summer.


Poor climate conditions are keeping slaughter levels historically high, but strong international demand has supported record boxed beef exports in Q1. The latest seasonal outlook predicts a drier-than-normal period for Queensland and northern NSW and a continued high flow of cattle to markets is expected.

• Brazil

Expected continued strong demand, both domestic and export, will result in firm cattle prices in Q2 2014 and likely beyond, even in periods of strong supply. Domestic demand is likely to increase on the back of the World Cup and presidential elections, while exports will be driven by the continued depreciation of the U.S. dollar.

• New Zealand

Export prospects are positive with strong demand likely from the U.S. and China. However, the relatively high New Zealand dollar continues to put downward pressure on returns, eroding international competitiveness.

• Canada

The long and extreme winter has been taxing, forcing increased feed usage. This escalation, in conjunction with cattle shipments to the U.S., means Canada is rapidly going through their available cattle supply with limited interest in herd expansion.

• Argentina

Exports are expected to remain low as government limitations on export markets continue, with the aim of keeping domestic meat prices low.

• China

Ongoing shortages in the domestic market will continue to support rising imports of frozen beef, with Australia remaining the biggest supplier accounting for 53per cent of total import volume in 2013.

• Mexico

Mexico’s beef sector will continue operating under tight margins into Q2 2014 as beef and cattle prices remain high and lackluster consumption continues.

• EU

With EU markets more or less in equilibrium, beef prices are expected to hold firm at their current levels. Supply of cattle will remain stable while import growth will continue its steady increase of about 10per cent .


TheCattleSite News Desk

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