Tough conditions on international beef markets

by Editor
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beef traders in Korea, the United States and Japan are all reporting difficult market conditions due to the uncertainty created by the global financial turmoil, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.

It reports that beef demand in Korea has been declining due to the currency fluctuations between US dollar and Korean won, and food safety concerns among Korean consumers.

In the US, MLA says a doom and gloom sentiment prevails, with considerable uncertainty remaining due to volatile currency movements and expectations of a significant decline in beef demand.

And in Japan, MLA reports that Australian beef export prices (in US dollars) fell substantially last week, with a 13pc decline in grassfed fullsets and 6pc in shortfed fullsets, in a slow trading market that is adjusting to recent falls in the Aussie dollar.

First to Korea, where MLA says wholesale prices for US product decreased last week.

Korean importers stated that some US product has been sold at low prices because of decreased beef demand and increasing stock levels.

Australian wholesale prices fluctuated last week due to the volatile purchasing behaviour from Korean importers.

In the US imported beef market prices were also on the decline last week, with trading positions remaining short as buyers take a hand-to-mouth approach and scale back interest in forward trading.

MLA says that while there is much concern within the US cattle industry of the extent to which domestic cattle prices will decline, particularly fed cattle, the lower value manufacturing beef trade is likely to fare better.

And in Japan, MLA says stocks of frozen Australian beef – particularly trimmings that had been bought at peak prices – are reportedly high in Japan, resulting in reduced inquiry.