Trade

US imported 90CL price hits record high, in US$ terms

Beef Central, 23/11/2012

 

As US market participants experience difficulties in sourcing imported beef on the spot market, the imported 90CL beef price indicator registered a new record high this week, increasing US4c/lb to US211.5c/lb CIF (A421.5c/kg).

This broke the previous record set in early March, when demand was particularly high for lean and extra lean beef ahead of the traditional grilling season, MLA reported this morning.

The figure is also close to a record in A$ terms, falling just short of the high point reached on December 15 last year of 422.6c/kg (see Beef Central's home page 90CL graph). 

The rise in imported ground beef has been despite US retail beef demand taking a breather, as meat case space is used more for holiday items such as turkeys, hams and roasts. The market is expected to see a shift towards imported beef in the coming weeks, as US seasonal cow turn-off finishes in December.

Despite substantial increases in beef imports from Australia, and to a smaller extent, from New Zealand, US market participants remained concerned about product availability into early 2013.

Meanwhile, US cattle on feed inventories as at November 1 declined 5pc year-on-year, to 11.3 million head, according to the latest United States Department of Agriculture Cattle on Feed Report.

Placements into US feedlots fell 13pc on a year ago, to 2.2 million head – the fifth consecutive decline since June this year and the lowest October placement since the data series began in 1996.

Since June 2012, US feedlots have received about 1.3 million fewer cattle than a year ago and about 705,000 fewer numbers compared with the five-year average.

October cattle placement into Southern Plains feedlots in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas also declined 18pc (191,000 head) year-on-year, to a total of 895,000 head.

Influenced by the high grain prices, the supply of young and lighter feeder cattle placed into US feedlots has decreased substantially compared with last year.

As at 15 November, US fed cattle prices had increased 10pc from their 2012 low in mid-July, with the USDA suggesting feedlot operators and packers will remain under margin pressure into 2013.

However, while US cattle slaughter is forecast to decline in 2013, average higher carcase weights will help to offset the reduced turnoff from feedlots. Average US cattle carcase weights in September increased 3pc year-on-year, to 797lb/head. US cattle marketings during October increased 3pc on the corresponding period last year, to 1.8 million head.

Following the limited supply prospects, the USDA forecast US choice steer prices to average 122.47US¢/lb in 2012, with prices marching into new highs through 2013.

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