Rabobank Beef Quarterly: Trade dominates beef agenda

Wisconsin State Farmer
Beef cattle grazing

The global beef complex is going through some major changes relating to trade flows, according to the Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q3 2017. Among developments, the United States is dominating beef trade, however the market is approaching a seasonal low. 

U.S. beef exports are up 11% YOY in volume for the year to July and up 15% YOY in value terms.

This highlights the ongoing availability of product for export from the U.S., as well as challenges in exporting from Australia and Brazil. US beef exports are up for the year to date to Japan (22% YOY), Hong Kong (33% YOY), and Canada (5% YOY).

Australia has been restricted by availability of beef for export, while the ‘weak flesh’ scandal in Brazil slowed exports of all proteins in 1H 2017.

At the same time, the US has recorded stronger-than-expected beef imports, which are up for the year to date by 11% YOY.

U.S. fed-cattle prices made a tough adjustment. After peaking in early May, fed cattle prices suffered a steep decline currently trading in a range of USD 103/cwt, according to the report. 

Feeder-cattle prices have held exceptionally well during the summer, in a range of USD 145/cwt to 155/cwt according to the report. 

Argentina is trying to start shipments of fresh beef to the U.S.

In August 2017, negotiations appeared to have taken a step closer to reaching an agreement, when Argentina announced that it had opened its market to American pork products, showing that bilateral meat trade is under discussion.

If Argentina is successful in gaining entry to the US fresh beef market, it will have access to a 20,000-tonne beef quota.

You can find the report here.