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Canadian Beef Packers Looking at Short Term Squeeze

17 January 2014
Meat & Livestock Australia

CANADA - The recent surge in cattle prices in the US has had impacts flowing north into the Canadian cattle and beef markets, with beef processors scrambling to ensure they have ample stock.

Analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia said that cattle prices in Canada, while higher, have not risen to the same extent as in the US, but this has largely been put down to currency fluctuations over the last few weeks.

Beef cutout prices have also, until the last few days, been a bit slower to rise than cattle prices, putting the processors in the middle of higher input costs relative to what they are able to sell their product for.

Expectations are for shift hours to drop through January and February in order to reduce overall costs (although cost per head slaughtered will be higher).

Further to this, February is expected to be a slow month for retail beef sales, so there could be more downward price pressure from the consumer end to keep product moving, MLA said.

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