Cattle markets took a downbeat turn this week, with most indicators slipping into negative territory, with the notable exception of processor steers, which bucked the trend with a 5% gain over the course of the week.

Slaughter statistics for week ending 10th June, 2022 were stagnant overall, lifting just 405 head to 95,155 head for the week. Zooming in on the individual contributions of the states, QLD slaughter lifted 4%, while NSW and VIC processed 3% and 6% fewer cattle respectively.

Official yardings numbers for last week ending 10th June, 2022 revealed what we guessed last week- supply has tightened. Yardings dipped 12% week on week down to 33,303 head, With QLD offerings suffering a 33% decline, followed a 19% decrease in VIC supply. This was offset by a 17% increase in selling interest in NSW. Overall, yardings are tracking on par with comparative period 2021 levels.

This weeks’ situation appears to be one of increased supply, as the number of EYCI eligible cattle yarded this week increase 22% to 13,032 head, and feeder cattle numbers increased 13% to 5,118 head.

The increase in EYCI eligible supply this week had the expected impact after last week’s indications of softer demand , with the EYCI falling back 33¢(<3%) to settle the week at 1,087¢/kg cwt.

Over in the west, the WYCI slipped back 3¢(<1%) to finish the week at 1,017¢/kg, with the price slide helped downward by a 41% increase in supply, with yardings lifting to 263 head. The proportion of vealers in the index remains comparatively low, at only 53%, with yearling steers trading at 1,104¢/kg.

The national cattle indicators were a sea of red ink this week, with restocker steer prices collecting the wooden spoon by pegging a 5.3% price decrease for the week to 652¢/kg lwt.  In contrast, the sole positive performer on the panel was processor steers, whose price surged 5% to 596¢/kg lwt.

The US frozen cow 90CL price slipped back 3.5¢ to 277¢US/lb, and lost  5¢(<1%) in Aussie dollar terms, closing the week at 854¢/kg swt. June 19th marks the US holiday “Juneteenth”, which celebrates the release of African-Americans from slavery. The aftermath of the holiday period  will be indicative of whether festivities have solidly supported American traditions of cookouts, BBQ’s, and hopefully grilling hamburgers with gusto, drawing down inventories, and encouraging commercial buyers to come to market to replenish.  

The week ahead….

In recent weeks, there have been signs of waning demand, as prices have dipped in response to increased supply. A few weeks ago, prices showed substantially more resilience, with prices even rising despite higher yardings in some instances. Indications are that supply is increasing at present, and prices have softened despite the fact that supply is still at historically low levels. A lacklustre week next week would be no surprise.

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Data sources: MLA,  Mecardo

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