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Market Plus: Dec 26, 2003

posted on December 26, 2003

Market Plus: Dec 26, 2003

Mark: Welcome to the Market Plus page here at our Market to Market Web site. Thanks so much for joining us, I'm Mark Pearson. With us on this holiday shortened week is one of our regular market analysts, Virgil Robinson. And Virgil, it's hard to try and make sense and make a lot of definitive statements about just what's going to happen to this beef industry. Short-term, you made the point, we're going to be under some pressure. Longer term, Virgil, I mean, this is not the first time Mad Cow has broken out in a western nation.

Virgil: True, and Mark, as we addressed earlier, the United States, I think, as a nation has prepared itself for this problem and I think they are marketing the educational effort and process very effectively, very swiftly. It will be, I think, supplemented with some very solid scientific documentation. I think the consumer, the U.S. consumer will feel more comfortable about his and/or her beef purchases within a relatively short period of time. I may be very mistaken on this and perhaps it's a much bigger hurdle than I'm making it sound tonight. But I'm of the opinion, Mark, this will not be a long lasting, devastating blow to this industry. I think it's a near term setback and I would not be surprised at some time to see the per capita consumption of beef pick up where it's been and continue to move higher.

Mark: So, cattlemen out there need to really be taking the longer view at this stage of the game.

Virgil: I think that's appropriate, Mark. And they're not unfamiliar with longer term perspectives. This will be another chapter in that book.

Mark: Absolutely. You talked about pork on the show. Again, a little bit better year ahead for pork. Let's also talk about soybeans, Virgil. The soybean market, you talked about it, very technically strong close on Wednesday, it remains to be seen what happens on Friday. But technically a very strong close, and again, prospects for additional soybean meal demand.

Virgil: Driven by that concern, Mark, the idea that all ruminant derived feed may well be displaced with vegetable proteins, ideally in the form of soybean meal. And as mentioned earlier, if we had done our calculations correct, Mark, and made some right assumptions about total ruminant derived fed disappearance, we just aren't in position this year to increase domestic crush by the tune of 60 or 80 or 90 million bushels to accommodate that kind of new demand. We just don't have the supply, Mark, unless prices move significantly higher. That's a prospect. Now, again, it's unclear whether that is the way we will travel the next several months. But clearly it is a prospect, Mark. Speaking of prospects, on the other hand, the situation in the Southern Hemisphere with the exception perhaps of select areas in Argentina, off to a pretty encouraging start. And the likelihood of record production down there is certainly quite real as we visit tonight. Doug addressed last week the logistical uncertainty of that country's ability to originate another 6-10 million metric tons of beans and get them shipped in a timely fashion. So, there are still a number of explosive factors underpinning and underlying the soybean market, this week another new dimension surfaced.

Mark: Absolutely, Virgil, thank you so much, we appreciate your insights. Virgil Robinson, joining us here on our Market Plus page here at our Market to Market Web site. From all of us here on Market to Market, have a great holiday season.


Tags: agriculture commodity prices Mad Cow markets news