With a short selling week due to tomorrow’s public holiday, the cattle market continued its gains with the majority of indicators seeing a positive change. Yardings were down slightly due to the short week, but still well above the five year average for the month of January. Processors have also had a strong start to the year with above average volume being processed.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) is currently at 646¢/kg, up 5% (30¢/kg) on Friday last week. Yardings of EYCI eligible cattle were down 11% on last week (1800 head) which helped to squeeze the market higher. Compared to a year ago the EYCI is down 17% (135 c/kg) but yardings are up 42% (4.3k head). Roma was the best performing saleyard for the indicator this week trading 12 c/kg above the indicator and contributing 24% of the volume. Roma, Wagga and Dalby saleyards made up 53% of the volume this week and all three reports talk of strong buyer turnout with demand driven by feedlotters.

National processor cows moved sideways on last week, at the time of writing the indicator was 249¢/kg. During the week it snuck above the 250¢/kg mark, the last time it was at this level was May 2023. Wagga had the largest contribution to the indicator and the highest price, averaging 20 ¢/kg above the indicator. Restocker heifer and steer indicators both increased week on week, the females increasing three times more than their male counterparts. Heifers are up 6% to 311 ¢/kg, compared to the males only up 2%, closing the spread between the two genders. Yardings for both genders fell, heifers down 5% and steers down 12%.

The 90CL beef price indicator has also continued to rebound after its decline in the December quarter of 2023. Currently at 775 AUD c/kg up 5% compared to this time last year . This comes after a significant lift in the amount of beef being imported into the US from Australia. The US beef report by Steiner Consulting Group reports that in the 4-week period ending the 13 January, the year on year increase is 169% (14 MT). According to Steiner US buyers look to cover shortfalls in the short to medium term from local supply due to climate conditions and other trade partners exporting less.

January is on track to be one of the largest months in regards to throughput in recent years. With some major saleyards still to have one more sale left in the month the figures already are well above the five year average. Slaughter has also begun the new year strongly reaching highs not seen since 2019 as mentioned in Tuesday’s market analysis thanks to the increase in capacity across the industry.

A full week of sales ahead, as we enter the second month of the new year. The market should remain supported as the recent flush of supply into the market will start to ease. Demand remains strong in a relative sense, with more confidence in the market. There is also upside for consumers of beef domestically at least in the short term as retailers yield to pressure to decrease prices.

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Data sources: MLa, Steiner, Mecardo

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