There were mixed results across MLA’s NLRS reported livestock markets this week, with little change to the national cattle indicators, while lamb prices eased across all categories. The benchmark EYCI finished Thursday at 323.50¢/kg cwt, while heavy steers and cows averaged 332¢/kg cwt and 273¢/kg cwt, respectively.
After the rain-induced decline in lamb yardings last week, numbers rebounded in SA and Victoria this week, while NSW registered the fourth consecutive week of over 100,000 head offered. In the wake of the larger supplies, nationally, trade lambs averaged 20¢ lower, at 446¢/kg cwt, while heavy lambs slipped 16¢, to 476¢/kg cwt.
The past fiscal year saw a record volume of beef and veal exit Australia, with the corresponding value of these shipments making some interesting analysis – highlighted by the impact of the A$, falling returns from Japan and strong returns for, frozen cuts. Australian beef and veal exports for 2012-13 were valued at A$5.07 billion, just short of the all-time high value sent in 2008-09. Strong volume and value growth to China and the Middle East, along with higher returns from the US and Korea, helped to offset another decline to Japan.
Illustrating the tough beef trading environment to Japan in recent years, and erosion of returns for higher valued chilled cuts, Australia’s trade to Japan has fallen by over A$1 billion since 2004-05 (record high exports after ban on US beef) – a 40% decline in returns, compared to a 29% decline in volume for the same period.
With record lamb shipments in 2012-13 came all-time high export returns, valued at A$1.13 billion – with the Middle East surpassing the US as the highest valued market.