The impending return of Brazilian beef into China throws up a red flag in terms of imported beef prices into the new year. While China has stepped away from the NZ manufacturing beef market, import prices have yet to show any reduction but its something to keep in mind. Prime cattle held steady this week with not a lot of action heading into the Christmas break with processing space available, and companies indicating they don’t have the number of prime cattle bookings in front of them that they would like for the New Year . Local trade cattle on the other hand are hard to get space for as export volumes are at record highs but starting to show the underlying problems of accessing some markets. China and the US markets have been quiet this week and while the volume of beef exports increased 2% compared to last November, the value increased by 20% to $292m.