Elevated, but softening throughput supports prices

The shortened week due to the Queen’s Birthday holiday saw cattle throughput soften to the lowest weekly level in over a month and a half across the East coast which provided a floor to most categories of cattle. The Eastern States Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) gained a meagre 0.5% to close at 479.25¢/kg cwt.

East coast cattle yarding levels were 17% softer week on week to see just over 51,000 head change hands at the sale yard (Figure 2). While this is the lowest cattle throughput in six weeks, it still represents a level that is 25% higher than the seasonal average for this week in the year.

East coast cattle throughput continues to remain elevated due to high numbers of cattle continuing to present themselves at sale yards in NSW.  Indeed, every east coast state recorded below average yardings this week except for NSW, which still has cattle throughput running at levels at around 70% above the seasonal average for the last month.

Across the East coast, most cattle price categories posted improvements ranging between 1% to 9%, with East Coast Trade Steers the only category to record a price decline, dropping 4% to 283.9¢/kg lwt (Table 1).

On a side note, our article last Friday made mention of South Australian Restocker Steers that caught our attention posting a 50¢/kg live weight price. The efficient and helpful staff at MLA kindly confirming that this was a valid statistic, albeit somewhat of an outlier as this was based off only a single sale of restocker steers that week in SA.

Further West, young cattle prices eased under the $5 level midweek to see it just 2.5% above the EYCI at 493¢/kg cwt and in offshore markets, the 90CL eased slightly to hold above 570¢/kg CIF (Figure 2).

What does it mean/next week?

With limited rain on the horizon outside of Victoria and coastal WA next week its unlikely to see cattle prices gain too aggressively in the short term. On the flip side, a 90CL beef export price above the 550¢ region and reduced cattle supply as we enter the depths of Winter will continue to provide price support on any dips. Perhaps sideways price consolidation is the order of the day for cattle markets over the coming few weeks.