Beef Market Update: Quiet cash market, currency risk/reward, and fat cattle exports

Cash trade in the south and in Canada was pretty quiet this week, nudging off the start of June versus any real kickoff to the new month.

In the U.S., slaughter was down this week too, bumping the cutout price a little in the post-Memorial Day shortened week, says Anne Wasko with the Gateway Livestock Exchange, in this week’s Beef Market Update.

Action here at home, however, was a little more lively and the numbers look good, too. There are a few factors at play, including a weaker Canadian dollar, and a strong basis for fed cattle in Alberta — which is in great shape to start the month.

The most recent Statistics Canada numbers are in for cattle exports and for retail protein prices, as well. Wasko recaps the strong numbers for cattle movement: fed cattle was up 51 per cent in the month, for a 30 per cent uptick for the year so far over last year’s numbers.

Retail beef prices were also up 11 per cent in April, year over year, versus pork prices being largely unchanged, and chicken prices actually down 4 per cent.

Wasko also has some insight into the impact of the labour union strike at Cargill’s Ontario plant.

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