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Beef Market Update: Futures market keeps close eye on labour uncertainties

By: RealAgriculture Livestock Team

January 7, 2022

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With the rise of the omicron variant, we’re watching COVID-19 once again disrupt the supply chain.

Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livstock Exchange says the markets are looking a bit defensive this week — especially the futures market.

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“We can see some of the slaughter disruptions that are going on with the absenteeism from COVID. All the laboured impacts are continuing to raise their ugly head again, if you will,” she explains. “So day-to-day, watching what those numbers look like, the markets don’t like knowing.”

Wasko emphasizes the unknown part — the fact of the matter being nobody knows “how much, low long, who, what regional areas, all those kinds of things,” she says.

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“We know slaughter levels are going to be lower this week, for sure. We’ll just continue to watch that data as we go forward. And you know, as we get through this, in the next week or two, there are just so many things that we don’t know, but those are what the markets are watching very, very closely,” says Wasko.

Amongst the uncertainties is also the news reported on December 17th that there was an atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) case found in Alberta.

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As of late, there have been multiple countries that have expressed concern when it comes to the case, with some halting of imports of Canadian beef by South Korea, China, and the Philippines.

“We’ve heard about South Korea, then China, then the Philippines. So again, these are asking more questions, and we’ll keep an eye out. Obviously, this is in the hands of the federal government in terms of resolving — so hopefully they can get to the bottom and get these questions answered quickly, and get back to regular trade again as it was,” says Wasko.

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Check out the full Beef Market Update with Anne Wasko and RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney, below: