Cheaper US beef seen curb­ing Asian de­mand for Aus­tralian meat

The Pak Banker - - 6BUSINESS -

NEW YORK: Asian con­sumers are set to buy more U.S. beef this year as de­mand shifts away from more ex­pen­sive Aus­tralian sup­ply, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Meat Ex­port Fed­er­a­tion. Ja­pan, Asia's largest beef im­porter, will likely be the re­gion's fastest-grow­ing mar­ket for U.S. meat this year, with im­ports seen ris­ing 9 per­cent, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Philip Seng said in an in­ter­view in Tokyo on Thurs­day. Sales to South Korea and Tai­wan will also ex­pand, he said.

"We have more sup­plies, and our prices are com­ing down," Seng said. "There is less Aus­tralian prod­uct com­ing into the mar­ket. As their prices come up, we are stay­ing some­what com­pet­i­tive with Aus­tralia." Aus­tralia's beef ex­ports are set to drop al­most 9 per­cent in the year start­ing July 1 as herd re­build­ing re­duces cat­tle and calf slaugh­ter, the govern­ment pre­dicts. The coun­try's East­ern Young Cat­tle In­di­ca­tor, a mea­sure of prices at auc­tions in the east, surged more than 38 per­cent in the past year while cat­tle fu­tures in Chicago lost 10 per­cent. U.S. meat pro­duc­tion will in­crease this year for the first time since 2010, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

The U.S. was the world's fourth-big­gest beef and veal ex­porter last year and Aus­tralia was the se­cond largest. Live cat­tle for June de­liv­ery were lit­tle changed at $1.307 a pound on the Chicago Mer­can­tile Ex­change. Af­ter touch­ing a record $1.7275 in Novem­ber 2014, fu­tures plunged 16 per­cent last year, the big­gest drop since 1981. Con­di­tions sur­round­ing U.S. ex­porters are im­prov­ing as the yen has climbed 8.4 per­cent against the dol­lar this year, mak­ing Amer­i­can beef more af­ford­able to Ja­panese con­sumers, ac­cord­ing to Seng.

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