More pressure on domestic beef demand

A livestock economist says the rise in COVID-19 cases is likely contributing to increased pressure on domestic demand for beef. 

University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says that’s evident as boxed beef prices have declined dramatically in recent weeks.  “We’re seeing some slowdowns happen in terms of what we’re seeing happen on the restaurant side as COVID cases increase,” he says.  “New York City has put a halt to all in-person dining again and all that worries me here in the short run of what we do in terms of cattle and beef prices moving ahead.”

However, despite increasing cases of COVID-19, the index of consumer sentiment jumped nearly 6 percent month over month. 

Brown says that came as a bit of a surprise.  “We may be a little too optimistic thinking that we’re almost out of COVID-19,” he says.  “It’s going to take us time, according to those dealing with the vaccine dispersal. It’ll take a while for us to get enough folks vaccinated to actually see the real light at the end of the tunnel.”

He says even though prices have been declining, they’re just $1 higher than year-ago levels. 

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