US – Ongoing West Coast port union disputes are hampering a US beef exports segment as shippers resort to freezing beef amid a port standstill.
Instead of exporting chilled beef, much of US beef is being frozen, eroding the chilled beef exports market, a CattleFax analyst told the Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio today.
The issue has spread to affect packing plants across much of the US.
Brett Stuart, Cattlefax’s global market analyst, placed port disruptions on his “watchlist” for economic factors to influence the US beef industry in 2015.
“This is a major issue and has caused problems in the Mid West and is now being felt on the East Coast,” said Mr Stuart.
Also on the list was a rising dollar, ongoing Mandatory of Country Origin Labelling discussions, export opportunities in Asia and the liquidation of China’s sow herd, which could potentially create a void in the market.
Commenting on China’s pig issue, Mr Stuart said: “Chinese farmers have lost money and liquidated pigs. Feed costs have been putting pressure on producers.”
In terms of looking abroad, he said beef access to China and Japan’s duties would be key.
Kevin Good, Cattlefax fed cattle market specialist underlined the value of the export markets: “In a US animal, 17 per cent of value is in exported beef – it’s a big and growing part of our business.”
Referring to trade disputes with export countries, Cattlefax chief executive officer, Randy Blach, said that the US and Brazil account for half of all meat protein exports.
He added: “We will continue to be major players if we have a level playing field.”
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