TWO consecutive short production weeks due to Easter holidays have softened slaughter cattle demand, but it is the “abject flatness and uncertainty” that is evident in international meat markets this week which is driving processor grid offers lower.
Some Queensland processor grids dropped another 20c/kg carcase weight this morning – mostly about aligning offers with competitors, rather than pushing into new territory, however.
Best grid offers seen for kills in the southern parts of Queensland in coming weeks had heavy four-tooth steers at 550-580c/kg (some offers 10c better for no-HGP), and heavy cows 475-490c/kg. Some Central Queensland plants are still matching those rates, while others are now 10c behind.
A larger northern NSW export processor has offers for kills week commencing 20 April of 520c/kg on four-tooth heavy steer, and 500c/kg on heavy cows.
Feeder cattle have found a bit of a level since pre-Easter, with heavy flatback descriptions delivered Darling Downs currently trading around 330c/kg liveweight.
“I don’t think anybody has a definitive answer on what the export meat market is going to do over the next few weeks – it’s just full of uncertainty, quite chaotic,” one processor contact said this morning.
Meanwhile the currency continues to mount a solid comeback, quoted this morning at close to US64c, rising almost US8c since its dramatic low-point of US56c back on March 19. The higher dollar has again worked against Australian exporters battling to sell meat into a flaccid global meat market.
Possible port congestion and closure in the US as a result of COVID-19 impact is now looming as a significant concern for Australian exports, just as it was earlier in China. Smaller beef export markets like the Philippines are currently in the middle of similar port access paralysis.
Given yesterday’s holiday, there are no NLRS Over the Hooks state reports, or weekly kill report yet ready for publication. These will be added to this report when they arrive.
Saleyards numbers in many centres continued at very low levels this week, influenced by widespread recent rainfall in southern states.
Gunnedah yarded just 245 head, and Barnawartha 280 head this morning, making market quotes unreliable. Further north Warwick yarded just 326 head, while Roma was expected to yard around 4500 today, well up on the last pre-Easter sale.