US beef import prices decreasing, but Asian market remains strong

United States imported beef prices are continuously decreasing, driven by weaker prices for domestic grinding beef.

Meat and Livestock Australia reported that US end users appear well covered in the near-term and remain reluctant to accept higher Australian offerings.

Australian manufacturing beef continues to flow through into Asian markets where bids remain strong.

In the US market, from the 1st of October to the end of the year, ground beef prices seasonally record some downwards pressure as the northern hemisphere winter impacts burger sales and retailers start to feature holiday items more extensively.

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Ample supplies of cheap competing proteins and higher non-fed slaughter are up five per cent on a year ago, which will ensure the US market remains well supplied in the short-term.

Central American countries are offering grinding beef at a notable discount to Australian product and New Zealand supplies could begin to lift as the year closes out, further pressuring imported prices.

The US, Canada and Mexico came to a last-minute agreement in principle on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in late September, to be formally known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Under the new trade agreement, the beef supply between the respective nations will remain uninterrupted.

Over the last decade, about two million cattle a-year have been trucked from Canada and Mexico into US feedlots and abattoirs, representing about eight per cent of the US steer and heifer slaughter.

Boxed beef has been regularly traded in both directions across both borders.

In terms of agriculture, the US has been granted improved access to Canada’s dairy, chicken, turkey, and egg markets as a result of the renegotiation.