Markets

Saleyard prices hold ground despite rising $A, supply increase

Beef Central, 30/07/2012

Saleyard prices held their ground despite a sharp increase in national cattle yardings last week.

Offerings jumped in most states compared to the previous rain-affected week, with throughput up by 65 percent in Queensland, 27pc in New South Wales, 9pc in Victoria, 53pc in South Australia and 33pc in Western Australia.

The increase in supply and the upward movement in the $A last week had little effect on most saleyard price indicators, according to Meat & Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Reporting Service.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator closed the week at 387.25c/kg cwt, its highest price since mid-April.

The trade steer indicator climbed by 391c/kg nationally last week, which was 16c/kg higher than the previous week, while medium cow rates edged up by 1c to 275c/kg cwt.

The saleyard price indicator for feeder cattle is holding firm at 206c/kg lwt, its highest level since mid-March, and 15c off the December 2011 peak of 221c/kg lwt.

The NLRS said feeder buyers were still active across the majority of cattle markets despite the recent spike in grain prices.

However, it predicted that rising feed grain costs and adequate supplies of feeder cattle would affect rates in coming weeks.

“Higher prices for feed grain may lower demand for suitable feeder cattle, with lotfeeding margins already under pressure,” the NLRS said.

“The supply of suitable feeder cattle reportedly remains at good levels, despite winter historically being a difficult time to source suitable stock.”

The tough trading conditions in major export markets and the renewed pressure brought by a rising $A was reflected in saleyard prices for heavy steers (500-600kg C4) last week, the only saleyard category to register a decline. The national heavy steer indicator retracted by 6c to 345c/kg cwt.

The NLRS reported that direct to works cattle prices were largely unchanged on last week, with heavy steers at 331¢/kg cwt – 9pc, or 26c above the corresponding week last year.

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