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CME: Retail Beef Prices Tracking Above 2018 Prices

19 November 2019

US - USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) released the monthly Meat Price Spreads on 13 November 2019. Retail beef (choice) prices have been tracking above last year’s prices each month except August, according to Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

The October price was 589.2 cents per pound, almost 1.0 percent above last year. Similarly, wholesale beef prices have been above last year’s levels for most of 2019.

October’s wholesale beef price was 336.5 cents per pound, up 5.4 percent from last year. Strength in wholesale beef prices is leading to a larger than average live-to-cutout price spread with October at $390.6 (per 1000 lbs). This was down from August and September which were $491.6 and $484.4 (per 1000 lbs), respectively.

The large spread is in part attributed to market reaction following the Holcomb, KS fire which drove wholesale prices higher and live cattle prices lower. Even though the market impacts have subsided the live-to-cutout spread is still above average.

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