Domestic Beef Price Outstripping Imported Values

US - Domestic beef prices are higher in the US than the price for imported product, says Meat and Livestock Australia.
calendar icon 24 April 2014
clock icon 1 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

US end users of imported beef are reportedly still taking a slow approach to the spot market, with most lean beef indicators slightly lower this week.

There have been very large volumes of Australian beef shipped to the US so far this year, but a large proportion of this has been in negotiated trade, so it has bypassed the spot market and gone straight to end-users looking to avoid the price volatility in the 2014 beef market.

This, unfortunately, means that there is a reasonably large proportion of the beef trade (and prices) that is not being captured in regular indicators.

This has hampered price discovery and probably contributed, in part, to the volatility of prices in the spot market – almost like a cycle of fluctuating prices feeding closer negotiations feeding more fluctuations.

It has not been just the imported market feeling the ups and downs – domestic beef has seen dramatic swings from week-to-week.

The US Choice beef cutout price has already had two distinct peaks and troughs this year, and has spent almost the entire time above 200US¢/lb – almost unheard of in previous years.

Retail demand has been the main driver, much more so than foodservice, which is another reason domestic has traded ahead of imported product – a preference of retailers.

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