Saturday 15 September 2012
The end of winter
Throughput at livestock markets mainly slowed this week, as cattle yardings eased 10% week-on-week, largely underpinned by decreases in both NSW and QLD throughput.
Lamb supply increased slightly, up 2%, as throughput in Victoria and Western Australia increased.
While a slight decline in the A$ this week would have been welcome news for Australian exporters, its overall strength continues to be a major hindrance for trade, especially when compared against some more favourable currency shifts for rival exporting nations.
Framed by the higher A$ throughout most of August and continuing weak export demand, exports for August (data to 27 August) are estimated to fall 5-8% below the corresponding period last year – largely due to a drop in shipments to Japan, Korea and Russia.
Adding to the reduced monthly beef exports was a comparatively tight supply of beef in late July and early August.
In contrast to the estimated lower beef volume for August, lamb and mutton exports are on track to remain above year ago levels – albeit not in the same magnitude as in previous months.
Australian exporters continue to face very stiff price competition from New Zealand product in several major sheepmeat markets, partly symptomatic of the fall-out from a very slow EU market.
The cattle market was mainly cheaper this week, with week-on-week declines for trade steers (385¢/kg cwt) and medium steers (333¢/kg cwt). The EYCI eased marginally, down 0.5¢/kg to 376.25¢/kg cwt.
Lamb prices rebounded across all categories this week, despite the 2% increase in supply. Trade lamb prices increased 36¢/kg, to 433¢/kg cwt, while heavy lamb prices also kicked, up 25¢, to 415¢/kg cwt.
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