Cattle Outlook: More Beef Being Imported

03:18PM Aug 10, 2015
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The strong dollar and high U.S. beef prices are having a negative impact on U.S. international beef trade.
By: Ron Plain and Scott Brown, University of Missouri

During the first half of 2015, beef imports were up 36.9% and beef exports were down 9.4%. Australia shipped 502.9 million pounds more, New Zealand supplied 77.3 million pounds more, and Mexico sold the U.S. an additional 58 million pounds compared to a year ago.

Mexico bought 52.2 million pounds less U.S. beef, Hong Kong 47.9 million pounds less, and Canada 23.6 million pounds less than in January-June 2014.

U.S. beef imports totaled 339.6 million pounds during June. That was up 34.8% from a year ago. The increase was caused by more beef from most major suppliers, except for Canada. Shipments from our biggest supplier, Australia, were up 55.5%.

U.S. beef exports totaled 214 million pounds in June, down 9.1% compared to 2014. Purchases by Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, and Canada were each down by more than 5 million pounds. South Korea and Taiwan each purchased more U.S. beef than in June 2014.

Beef exports during June equaled 10.7% of U.S. production. Beef imports in June equaled 17.0% of production. Domestic beef demand was up 2.4% in June, but foreign demand for U.S. beef was down 7.4%.

Fed cattle prices this week were higher on very light volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $148.48/cwt, up $3.26 from last week's average, but down $12.27 from a year ago. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $233.75/cwt, up $4.53 for the week, but down $19.72 compared to the same week last year.

This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $235.47/cwt, up $2.20 from the previous Friday. The select carcass cutout was $229.14/cwt this morning down 55 cents from last week.

Cattle slaughter this week totaled 535,000 head, up 0.6% from the week before, but down 6.6% from the same week last year.

The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on July 25 was 884 pounds, unchanged from the week before, up 14 pounds compared to the same week last year, and above the year-ago level for the 58th consecutive week.

Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City were steady to $4 higher this week. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $289-$302, 450-500# $266-$283, 500-550# $242-$258, 550-600# $232-$259, 600-650# $217-$248.50, 650-700# $219.50-$237, 700-750# $219-$231, 750-800# $209-$219.25, 800-900# $200-$216 and 900-1000#, $190-$200.25/cwt.

Cattle futures were higher this week. The August live cattle futures contract settled at $149.57/cwt today, up $3.87 for the week. October fed cattle settled at $148.52/cwt, up $2.60 from the previous week. December fed cattle settled at $149.97/cwt. August feeder cattle ended the week at $214.12/cwt.