As expected, we saw another week where the EYCI rose to a new record high of 910.25¢/ kg cwt on Tuesday, but it couldn’t quite stay there, falling back to 906¢/kg cwt by the close of the week. This is most probably on the back of the long-overdue recovery that began last week in both yardings and slaughter as producers returned supply to the market. However; slaughter is still down in historical terms, indicating continued tightness in overall supply. Restocker and feeder interest is still strong with processors struggling to pick up even 5% of the young cattle on offer in the saleyards.

Last week’s yardings finally leaped off the blocks, accelerating 132% on the week prior, to levels well above last year and also the five-year average.

A total of 51,940 head of cattle were yarded on the east coast for the week ending 16th April 2021, which was up a staggering 29,587 more than the week prior.

Slaughter figures were also upbeat, rising a solid 27% on the prior week. Despite the strong rise, slaughter is still tracking at a subdued range compared to last year and the past five years; indicating that overall, supply in the market is still quite tight. 

For the week ending 16th April 2021, 94,851 head were slaughtered, which is up 20,207 head on the week prior.

The EYCI held its ground well in response to the increased supply conditions, reaching a record high on Tuesday, but retreating 2¢ (<1%) towards the end of the week to close at 906¢/kg cwt.

The EYCI’s price continues to be dominated by the influence of QLD saleyards, with prices at Roma Store and Dalby, which respectively tracked at 922¢/kg cwt and 914¢/kg cwt providing 38% of the total volume of 15,014 eligible head. Purchases continue to be cornered by feeders and restockers picking up 94% of the volume on offer.

On the West coast, the WYCI advanced 10¢ (<1%) to close at 964¢/kg cwt for the week. Vealer categories continued to saturate the makeup of the index, and processors continue to be squeezed out of the market by feeders and restockers.

The national category indicators displayed mostly red ink this week, with Restocker Steers displaying the largest fall, while Medium Steers and Cows were alone in seeing upward movement.

Restocker and Feeder Steers both fell backward despite the upbeat EYCI; respectively retreating 16¢(3%) and 1¢(<1%) to 557¢/kg lwt and 463¢/kg lwt. Vealers also tracked lower, shedding 12¢(2%) to settle at 512¢/kg lwt. Processor and Heavy Steers retreated 11¢(2%) and 1¢(<1%) to 451¢/kg lwt and 374¢/kg lwt. On a more positive note, Medium Steers and Cows pushed forward 17¢(4%) and 5¢(2%) to settle the week at 405¢/kg lwt and 282¢/kg lwt. 

The Aussie dollar backtracked 0.3% to finish the week at 0.771USD. The monthly RBA meeting on Tuesday failed to deliver any significant news. Internationally, Biden’s plans to slug the US’s rich elite, with a doubling of their capital gains tax rate to close to 40% as part of a plan to help pay for the latest stimulus packages, lead to equity markets falling, driving a change towards a risk-off sentiment, lending support to the perceived safety of the USD.

The 90CL frozen cow price lifted by 7¢ (1%), to 700¢/kg AUD; driven by continued tightness in US domestic beef supply, and ongoing expectations of low imports of Australian beef into the US.

The week ahead….

The BOM is tipping a drier week ahead, with only far coastal areas of the eastern seaboard and western Victoria set to receive 5-10mm of rain, though parts of northern QLD are due for a more generous helping. Down south, less damp, cold and muddy conditions on paddocks will be positive for pasture growth in the short term. The market has absorbed the additional supply well over the past two weeks, so the market holding its ground again next week would not be out of the question.

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Data sources: AWEX, Mecardo

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