The next six weeks is shaping as an interesting test for cattle demand, as winter draws to a close and supplies build into spring.
With cattle offerings forecast to ramp up heading towards October, economic conditions continuing to struggle in key export markets, and the Australian dollar trading well above its US counterpart, Meat &
Livestock Australia has warned that prices are likely to come under pressure if export demand does not also respond.
The one bright spot for the beef market in an otherwise sluggish export outlook is the improvement in manufacturing beef returns to the United States, where imported beef supplies remain tight.
Cattle prices remained mixed last week as national throughput in saleyards reported by the National Livestock Reporting Service declined 5pc last week.
The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) declined 4.5c to 376.75c/kg cwt.
MLA said quality throughout the eastern states remained plain and unfinished, although pockets of supplementary fed cattle were starting to enter the market.
Restockers competed strongly for trade steers, with reports of some good supplementary lines yarded, which helped underpin a 4c lift in prices, settling at 393c/kg cwt.
Medium weight steers were well sought after, particularly in Queensland, with fierce demand from feeder buyers driving prices up 6c, to average 335c/kg cwt.
Heavy steers remained relatively firm on last week, making 339c/kg cwt, while weaker demand from processors for medium cows underpinned a 4c decline, averaging 269c/kg cwt.