US Beef Prices Notch Highest Mark In Almost 30 Yrs

Posted by: : Paul EbelingPosted on: April 13, 2014 US Beef Prices Notch Highest Mark In Almost 30 Yrs

US Beef Prices Notch Highest Mark In Almost 30 Yrs

The highest beef prices in almost 30 yrs have arrived in US markets just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners, no relief in sight.

The shrinking  number of beef cattle and growing export demand from countries like China and Japan caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to 5.28 lb n February, up almost 0.25 from January and the highest price since Y 1987.

Everything that’s produced is being consumed. And prices likely will stay high for a couple of years as cattle producers start to rebuild their herds on Big Qs about whether the Southwest and parts of the Midwest will see enough rain to re-grass the pastures.

US consumers are resigned to the high prices, but not happy. Some have stopped buying and eating Red meat completely

Restaurant owners are having  deal with the high prices.

White-tablecloth restaurants have adjusted the size of their steaks, making them thinner to offset the price increases, says Jim Robb, director of the Colorado-based Livestock Marketing Information Center. Some places now serve a 6 oz Sirloin, compared to 8 or 10 oz portions once offered.

And fast-food restaurants are trimming costs by reducing the number of menu items and are offering other meat options, including turkey burgers, Robb said.

The high prices are welcome news for at least one group: ranchers, especially those in Texas who for years have struggled amid drought and high feed prices. Despite the most recent numbers that show the fewest head of cattle in the US since Y 1951, prices for beef have not declined along with the herd size as demand has remained strong.

Some US cattlemen worry lasting high prices will prompt consumers to permanently change their buying habits, switching to chicken or pork.

Three yrs ago, economists thought consumers would start finding substitutions for beef as the drought spread, that has not happened.

Beef is not the only meat with a higher price tag.

The price of Pork has also risen, that due to a virus that has killed millions of piglets. And composite retail prices for chicken in February were 1.95 lb, the highest since October.

Higher food prices are here to stay. US consumers will have to pay up or do without.

Stay tuned…

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Paul Ebeling

 

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Paul Ebeling

Pattern Recognition Analyst, equities, commodities, forex
Paul Ebeling is best known for his work as writer and publisher of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly-regarded, weekly financial market letter, where he enjoys an international audience among opinion makers, business leaders, and respected organizations. Something of a pioneer in online stock market and commodities discussion and analysis, Ebeling has been online since 1994. He has studied and worked in the global financial and stock markets since 1984.
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  • WeAreAlways WatchingYou

    well when the government goes around shutting down cattle farms this is what happens Dissolve the BLM. Just wait until the democratic Marxist socialist communist raise minimum wage then all prices will go up and employers will just hire illegal aliens for less than minimum wage. Time for an entire change of government all the way to the local level expelling them all from the USA

  • http://www.livetradingnews.com/ Bangkok Jack

    Socialism “spread the wealth” is taking over western countries, people should understand it is communism and must be stopped.

  • jaybigness

    Perfect timing for this story after the govt attempted to confiscate Mr Bundy’s cattle yesterday.

  • Cody

    “And prices likely will stay high for a couple of years as cattle producers start to rebuild their herds on Big Qs about whether the Southwest and parts of the Midwest will see enough rain to re-grass the pastures.”

    Uhh… “re-grass pastures”? Rebuild “herds”??? What the hell are you talking about?!?

    An overwhelming majority of cattle are fed/raised on corn these days, not grass… (some are fed an even cheaper corn and candy mixure of reject M&M’s and other bits of candy bars that the Mars candy corp. would throw out)

    But there is certainly ZERO shortage of corn in this country… Plus they’re kept on cramped, dirty feed lots that produce a staggering amount of pollution.

    They’re not kept in herds on pastures.. They have much faster/cheaper way to do it now and they could care less if its less humane for the animal or less nutritious for the consumers. Its about bottom dollar.

    Watch the documentary “King Corn” and you’ll know exactly what i’m talking about.

    A select few still have pastures for their cattle. But its clearly marked “grass fed” and is higher priced than average beef. And you certainly won’t get it at any restaurant or drive-thru…

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