December 29, 2008


New Zealand beef seen to benefit from US supply drop


A downturn in US beef supplies early next year could boost sales for New Zealand's beef producers, according to Meat and Wool New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen.


Petersen said cattle slaughter in the US and Canada is now falling rapidly, even though it is still more than 10-percent higher than last year.


At the same time, fed cattle inventories are about 6.8-percent below year ago levels, indicating a notably lower fed cattle slaughter in the first quarter of 2009, and perhaps also the entire first half of next year, said Petersen.


Petersen said US beef supplies would be smaller in the first quarter of 2009 and the latest cattle on feed report showed an ongoing decline in the number of cattle on feed and lower cattle placements.


The lower currency is also good news for New Zealand's beef producers, who had struggled with falling returns during the last quarter of 2008.

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