Five-year winter price trend reverses in 2011

James Nason, 01/08/2011

Latest National Livestock Reporting Service figures underline the departure that has occurred away from traditional price trends so far this winter.

Over the past five years the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator has risen by 2 per cent on average during the winter period, according to the NLRS.

The benchmark young cattle price index closed at 371.5c/kg last Friday, more than 4pc lower than its June 1 level of 388.25c/kg.

However the two month trend also masks a 6pc year-on-year increase in the average value of the EYCI during July 2011 (376c/kg), compared to July 2010.

That increase was largely driven by a sharp reduction in supply, with throughput during July 13pc lower than July 2010 and 14pc lower than the month of June.

The throughput data highlights the focus on herd rebuilding that is underway with yearling heifer offerings during July down by 24pc on year-ago levels, and cow yardings back by 16pc.

The high Australian dollar and consequent impact on demand for Australian beef in Japan and the US were also underlined in latest NLRS price data.

The heavy steer indicator closed at 178c/kg last Friday, 3pc lower than early June.

“Since the start of April, indicative chilled beef returns for Australian beef exports to Japan have declined 8-19pc in $A terms, which has clearly transferred to lower prices for heavy steers in recent months,” MLA reported last Friday.

“In contrast, the same export prices in USc/lb terms have only declined 1-10pc, illustrating the impact for Australian exporters from the record high $A."

A similar impact is evident in the US grinding beef market.

The indicative 90CL price in $A terms has fallen by 15pc in the past three months, compared to only 8pc in USc/lb terms.

“Indeed, while this week’s indicative 90CL price in USc/lb terms was up 20pc on the same week last year, for Australian exporters prices were 3pc below last year. “

Despite a continued decline in young cattle prices since reaching a peak of 424.25c/kg on March 28, prices held relatively stable in July, varying by only 3pc variation during the month. 


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