Cattle in a yard

After stuttering briefly for the last fortnight, the EYCI has rallied again to rise above the 900¢/kg cwt mark. Indications of yardings retreating faster than slaughter rates last week, point towards a tightening supply and demand balance, especially in QLD being the main driver. The WYCI fell 5.5%, but mostly due to a sharp drop in numbers, and reduction in vealer offerings.

Yardings continued on their downward trajectory last week, dipping another 13%, to bring the total reduction in offerings to 22% since the sharp recovery we saw back in mid-April. 

Most of the decline emanated from QLD and NSW, which respectively fell back 21% and 10%.

A total of 40,9886 head were yarded on the east coast for the week ending 7th May 2021, down 6,051 head from the week prior.

Slaughter also slid again for the second week in a row; albeit at a slower pace; backing off 2% from the prior week.

For the week ending 7th May, 2021, 92,461 head were slaughtered, down 1,472 head on the week prior. VIC slaughter took the largest tumble, retreating 9%, with SA dipping 33% on the prior week, while QLD slaughter actually picked up in contrast, indicating that the supply/demand balance has been tightening in QLD recently.

The EYCI continued its’ positive rally, breaching the 900¢ barrier again as early as Tuesday, and pushing back up to close the week at 903¢/kg cwt. Numbers of eligible cattle are down around  20% from prior weeks to under 12,000 head, with Roma, Dalby and Wagga leading the charge. Casino, Singleton, and Armidale clocked average prices over the 900¢kg, with Scone the standout, at 1005¢/kg, where sales were 80% vealers.  In contrast, the Roma, Dalby & wagga yards are almost exclusively yearlings, hence the price difference.

On the West coast, the WYCI collapsed by 56¢ from its high last week of 1013¢/kg to close at 956¢/kg cwt for the week. The cause of the fall was clear- thin numbers, and a switch away from a stark majority of vealers last week, to in excess of 50% lower value yearlings making up the index over this week.

The national category indicators were a tale of two cities, with the lighter restocker and vealer categories lifting, respectively 5¢ (1%)  and 9¢ (2%) to close at 550¢/kg lwt and 512¢/kg. Medium steers also advanced 7¢ (2%) to 403¢/kg.

In contrast, processor, feeder, and heavy steers fell, 1-2% to close at 461¢/kg, 403¢/kg and 382¢/kg lwt. The exception was medium cows, which rose 4¢(1%) to 285¢/kg lwt.

The Aussie dollar backtracked 1.4% on the prior week to finish the week at 0.773USD. US inflation numbers have been higher than expected, and equities markets have rallied recently. Iron ore futures prices dipping 9% cast a softer shadow upon the outlook for the Australian dollar.

The 90CL frozen cow price continued its steady journey skyward, powering up 15¢ (2%) to 712c/kg cwt. Steiner reports that US manufacturers are struggling to secure grinding beef, especially in light of overall US beef imports being down 8%, with the Australian portion down 48%, and US beef exports hitting record levels. Wholesale beef prices in the US have risen more than 36% on aggregate since March.

The week ahead….

The rising EYCI, and signs of a trend towards increasing tightness in the supply demand balance in QLD, coupled with continued strong restocker interest in young cattle suggest that next week could see another solid does of positivity going forward. The latest 3-month rainfall outlook from the BOM also shows a pleasing 65-75% chance of median rainfall being exceeded over a good proportion of QLD and NSW, which is bound to stoke confidence about the prospects of the future season.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo, BOM

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