The cattle market’s defiant run of strength in the face of a rampant Australian dollar lost further steam last week as large numbers came forward nationally.
A return to full selling weeks after the Easter break coincided with a stronger than expected spike in the Australian dollar against the US greenback to trigger a softening of prices across the board.
MLA’s Meat and Livestock Weekly reported price falls across all categories nationally, highlighted by a 17c/kg drop in the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator to a close of 396c/kg last Thursday.
The fall ended a two month run for the EYCI above 400c/kg.
“While the increase in the supply of cattle in Queensland was largely expected, given a run of drier weeks, the record run of the $A in the past weeks was not, hitting 110USc and adding to the weaker sentiment across export markets,” MLA’s report explained.
“While falling in recent days to 105USc, the $A continues to make things very difficult for Australian exporters, particularly with many markets experiencing a quieter demand period.”
The hardest hit category was export steers, which fell to 327c/kg cwt, 13% below the March peak.
Cows finished the week at 275c/kg cwt.
MLA noted that young cattle are still in demand with prices 14-16% year-ago levels.
The strength of restocker demand for young cattle was highlighted at the annual calf sales at Braidwood and Goulburn last week, where prices for the 6000 head yarding surged to $200 a head above last year.
Northern Territory stock agent Jock McPherson, Territory Rural, highlighted the impact that recent price falls in northern markets were having on producer’s hip pockets.
Mr McPherson told the Northern Territory Country Hour that a consignment of heavy export bullocks sold three weeks ago would fetch approximately $120 less per head this week.