US Shutdown Restricts Beef Market Visibility

US - The US government shutdown, now the longest in history, continues to affect over 800,000 federal workers, as President Trump refuses to back down on his request for funding to build the proposed Mexican border wall.
calendar icon 22 January 2019
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Meat & Livestock Australia

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been one government agency significantly affected by the shutdown.

Last week, the USDA announced plans to temporarily reopen about half of its Farm Service Agency offices and call back around 2,500 employees, in order to assist in processing farm payments and federal farm loans.

The shutdown has led to the USDA delaying the release of key agricultural reports.

For the US livestock sector, these have included the quarterly report on US grain stocks, crop production, weekly export data, weekly beef and cow slaughter numbers and the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report (WASDE).

The monthly cold storage inventories report and cattle on feed report, scheduled for release this week, will also likely face delays as the shutdown continues.

Steiner Consulting Group commented that most critical for the livestock industry is the possible cancellation of the US cattle inventory report, however the outcome remains unclear and could depend on the duration of the shutdown.

The lack of reporting makes understanding the current US supply dynamics extremely difficult for industry to gage.

Imported beef market highlights for the week:

  • Imported beef prices were mostly steady compared to the previous week and only 95CL bull product registered a modest decline.

  • Fat beef trim prices have been seasonally lower in the last two weeks but prices should be higher in late February and March.

  • Prices for US domestic cow flats have declined sharply in the last two weeks and current values are down as much as 24 percent compared to a year ago.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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