USDA EXPECTS RETAIL PRICES AND SUPPLIES TO DECLINE

WASHINGTON -- Retail prices and supplies of beef are both expected to decline in the near future, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture here.rt demand. Supply may average about 67 pounds this year and in 1997, the report stated.Meanwhile, the retail price for Choice beef was about five cents lower in the first quarter of this year as compared with 1995, and USDA says

WASHINGTON -- Retail prices and supplies of beef are both expected to decline in the near future, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture here.

rt demand. Supply may average about 67 pounds this year and in 1997, the report stated.

Meanwhile, the retail price for Choice beef was about five cents lower in the first quarter of this year as compared with 1995, and USDA says it will show a further decrease in the second quarter as consumers take advantage of low cattle and boxed beef prices through the grilling season of early summer.

USDA expects retail prices for Choice beef to average about $2.79 per pound, down from $2.84 in 1995. It also predicted that the high for retail prices will occur in the autumn and continue through the spring of 1997, as the effect of tightened supply begins to hit home. Prices will average about $2.84 in 1997, reaching a high of $2.90 per pound in the first half of 1997.