Beef market report: Still difficult to get much more than 390 cents/kg

Beef prices at factories have continued to gradually harden this week but vary across the country, while cattle supplies remain generally tight.

The base price on offer for steers continues to be quoted at 385-390 cents/kg.

The percentage of the supply being purchased at the higher end of the price range appears to be increasing week-by-week, with more sellers successfully negotiating for top-ups above the base line. 

But it is still difficult to get much more than 390 cents/kg — which is a very rare price across the south.

Heifer prices are on a base of 10 cents/kg more than steer prices, 395-400 cents/kg, with occasional lots making up to 405 cents/kg this week.

Cow prices are described by finishers as ‘very firm’, with ‘plenty of interest’ from processors in better quality cows in particular. 

Base prices for O/P-grade start at around 305 cents/kg and edge up to 320 cents/kg. The better quality R-grade cows are making up to 345 cents/kg.

While there was some recovery in the cattle supply to factories last week, after the bank holiday week, with intake rising to 31,727 head, that is still well back from the supply levels of earlier weeks, which puts some pressure on processors to source adequate supplies.

In the UK, the beef trade was relatively strongly supplied last week, and prices eased slightly, in sterling terms. R4L-grade steers averaged equivalent to 437 cent/kg (when VAT is included), at 86.6p for €1.

In France, the beef market remained unchanged, and difficult for imported product. Demand was reported to have slowed for most products, and promotions were limited at retail level. In Italy, there was little change reported in the market last week.

Looking at global markets, exports from Brazil have come under pressure after recent sanitary issues with a number of temporary restrictions by key importing markets.

In the US, import demand remains strong, and supplies have declined from traditional suppliers such as Australia and New Zealand.

Domestic consumption in the US remains relatively strong, and consumption for the 2017 full year is expected to increase to nearly 26kg per capita.


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