January 22 Weekly Update

1/22 – Ground beef prices are a wildcard for 2018. For beef 50s, large cattle slaughter numbers should lead to a supply increase. For lean 90s, domestic cow slaughter will run as high as 4-5% above year ago in Q1 before declining seasonally into the spring and early summer. Cattle numbers/slaughter in Australia have been less than expected, but imports of Aussie 90s are still expected to be above year ago levels. More supplies will be offset by growing domestic demand for ground beef, fueled by retail “value” offerings and foodservice burger promotions. 90s lean beef trimmings are $2.13/lb and look to trade in the $2.20-$2.30 range through Apr; $2.30s in May. Beef 50s (fat) trimmings bottomed at $.60 in Dec and are now $.82/lb. Look for 50s to fade a bit and trade closer to $.70 through Feb before moving above $.90 for Mar-Apr; $1.00 or higher in May.