Yardings continued to fall back last week, down 9% from the week prior. The reduction was led by NSW, which was down 25%, and QLD which dropped 4%. Opposing movements in VIC and SA largely offset one another.
Overall, yardings fell by 4,046 head on the prior week which saw 40,199 cattle yarded on the east coast for the week ending 30th October, which is 38% below last year and 20% off the 5-year average.
Slaughter numbers hesitated last week, booking a 2% reduction on the prior week. The fall was led by weakness in NSW and QLD figures, which both came off 6-7% each. An offsetting factor came from VIC, with numbers rising by 15%, and SA by 23%. Though a small state in terms of beef production, SA slaughter numbers are currently tracking at 44% below the 5-year average for this time of year.
A total of 107,067 cattle were processed for the week ending the 30th October: a level 31% down from the same time last year.
Most categories were stable, or booking some wins this week, but restocker steers finally fell out of favour, ending a strong 5-week ramp up of a cumulative 15% gain where highs of over 500¢/kg lwt were reached last week. In contrast, finished heavy steers saw the biggest gain for the week, narrowing the finished cattle to young cattle spread.
Despite restocker steers seeing a solid correction of 17¢(3%), to 485¢/kg lwt, feeder steers gained 6¢ (2%) to finish the week at 432¢/kg lwt. Feeder steer prices have now booked nine consecutive weeks of moderate rises, culminating in a total increase of 8.2% since early September, roughly following the fortunes of processor steers, which have put on 12% since their early September low point. Processor steers were stable this week, budging less than a cent to close at 427¢/kg lwt
Heavy steers made a breakaway run this week, lifting an impressive 11¢ (3%) to end the week at 386¢/kg lwt, with the price now tracking at around the level seen back in late August.
Medium steers, and Medium cows were also steadfast, displaying negligible movement, respectively settling at 388 ¢/kg lwt and 298¢/kg lwt. Vealers lifted 6¢ (1%) to reach 443¢/kg lwt
The Aussie dollar made quite a comeback this week, rising back to 0.728 US, mostly on the back of weakness in the US dollar stemming from uncertainty on the presidential election outcome this week. The US 90CL frozen cow jumped by 27¢ (4%) from the prior week, even against the headwinds of the stronger Australian dollar, to finish the week at 648¢/kg swt. This rise is uncharacteristic for the time of year, as grilling season is over. The increase is reportedly driven by a restriction in supply of imported beef, possibly related to rising concern among US manufacturers about the substitute use of Nicaraguan beef, which has been recently linked to human rights violations and violence by ranchers against the indigenous population.
The week ahead….
The outlook for next week’s rainfall is considerably less generous in volume, but the gift of 5-10mm is expected to be widespread, falling from far north QLD, into the central regions and down to VIC, with only North central SA missing out. The savage correction in restocker prices this week may attract some buyers out of the woodwork. Slaughter has been flagging, possibly on the back of continued price rises recently, but the strong improvement in 90CL and increased US focus on ethical supply chains could be the offsetting factor to stimulate orders.