Another hot, dry and windy week for drought affected regions of eastern Australia, along with additional yardings, as markets returned to a full selling week, contributed to the cattle market edging lower this week.
The latest BOM cyclone activity outlook for northern Australia for 2013-14 added to the recent neutral outlooks for the upcoming wet season, as producers across northern Australia struggle with the expanding drought conditions. While almost all producers would have been hoping recent forecasts indicated that they would get an early and above average start to 2013-14, the neutral outlook has again left the cattle market with little forward information to progress, as ample cattle numbers continued to keep a lid on cattle prices.
Adding to the drought conditions and subdued outlook, the A$ continued to edge higher this week, gradually putting additional pressure on exporter competitiveness. While overall shipments continue to be assisted by the high cattle throughput, the A$ has risen against all major trading partners in recent weeks – again eroding gains from favourable overseas prices in many markets.
Nationally, heavy steers lost 11¢, to average 335¢/kg cwt, while the medium cow indicator eased 10¢, to finish Thursday’s markets at 263¢/kg cwt. Under the pressure of limited restocker interest, the EYCI lost a further 8¢ this week, finishing the week on 300.75¢/kg cwt.
With better conditions in southern regions, the lamb and sheep market continues to act as expected throughout spring, with large numbers of new season lambs offered. The recent blast of hot and windy weather has reportedly impacted skin quality and finish at some markets. Trade lambs this week averaged 387¢/kg cwt, while heavy lambs averaged 399¢/kg cwt, back 24¢ on last week.