While the past week saw much of eastern Australia receive at least some rainfall, producer sentiment in northern regions of the country continued to be tested, with very little rain combining with high temperatures to round out Queensland’s hottest September on record. In contrast, south-eastern Australia combined warm temperatures with heavy falls to further assist what has been a very fruitful spring. Similarly, southern WA continued a great start to spring with heavy falls recorded across much of the region. More rain is needed across most of Queensland and north-west NSW – and soon – for the market to improve significantly.
The A$ traded at around 94US¢ for the third consecutive week. Although the stability of the dollar is favourable for both exporters and importers alike, the recent high level will put pressure on demand for red meat in export markets – especially if the uncertainty in the US leads to further appreciation.
The strength of the southern markets continue to be counteracted by weak markets in the north, seeing the EYCI increase 1¢ over the past week, finishing Thursday at 312.25¢/kg cwt, while nationally cows averaged 5¢ higher, at 274¢/kg cwt. Sheep and lamb markets fell further across all categories, headed by 19¢ declines to light and trade weight lambs, to average 351¢/kg cwt and 413¢/kg cwt, respectively.
In overseas markets, the US has been affected by the government shutdown, which has resulted in the closure of non-essential government services until Congress is able to reach a funding agreement. As a result, many agricultural statistics are now unavailable, with the potential for this to turn into a very difficult period for determining pricing, stocks and supplies. China remains a strong market for all red meat, with another strong export month for beef, lamb and mutton in September. Beef exports to Japan in September were the lowest since February, while mutton exports to the Middle East were the lowest monthly volume since 2003.