Beef Grinds Higher

Cattle prices are continuing to climb, reaching an 11-month high on Friday above $1.25 per pound.

Beef demand has been strong as the U.S. economy continues its steady expansion, giving consumers more confidence that they can splurge on steaks.

Cattle prices jumped up this week as Winter Storm Gia brought treacherous conditions across Kansas, threatening animals in the third-largest cattle-producing state.

Additionally, improving export outlooks are boosting the prices after demand for U.S. livestock fell sharply last year amidst the trade disputes with China, Canada, and Mexico.

Since then, the renewed NAFTA deal diminished worries about Mexican and Canadian demand, a savior for ranchers as those two nations are major buyers of U.S. beef. This week, more headway was made with China on resolving the entrenched trade war, renewing hopes that China’s 1.4 billion diners could soon be eating more American beef.

Meanwhile, exports to Japan and Taiwan have been strong recently, although details are unknown due to the ongoing government shutdown which has left markets cut off from vital data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.