By Joanna Newman
CATTLE and beef values have remained stagnant this week in the USA as producers turn their attention to the demand side of the equation.
Americans have started to dust off their barbecue grills and seasonal beef consumption is beginning to pick up.
Packers are still bidding about 64¢/lb (86p/kg) for live cattle, unchanged from last week, while owners are offering finished animals at 67-68¢/lb.
The Chicago June live cattle contract settled on Tuesday (4 May) at 62.5¢/lb (84p/kg), off a cent from a week ago.
The May store cattle contract, for lighter animals entering the feedlots, closed at 71.1¢/lb (96p/kg), a fall of about half a cent from last week.
Following an agreement on price reporting this week, the industry has moved closer towards greater market transparency, which should improve efficiency and help smaller producers.
Industry leaders will shortly submit a proposal to Congress for mandatory reporting of cattle and beef trades.
Meanwhile in other political developments, the escalating trade war with the EU over alleged hormone residues in US hormone-free beef and the safety of beef made from cattle raised with hormones is having little direct impact on US market prices.
The EU already bans US beef from cattle raised with hormones, which accounts for the majority of US production. Consequently Europe is not a significant export destination for US beef.