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Insights February 2022

14 February 2022 |Cattle
Cattle image

Insights February 2022

14 February 2022 |Cattle
The February update provides an analysis of production and pricing trends for Australian cattle producers. It provides producers with a timely overview of current trends and an outlook for the coming months.

Commodity Overview:

  • After hitting new record highs to start the year Australian cattle prices began to ease in late January on the back of increased cattle slaughter.
  • Australian beef exports declined in January with three of the four major export markets importing less Australian beef compared to last month, and South Korea the only country to increase beef imports.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) reached a record high of 1,191c/kg in January. It has since experienced a decline of four per cent, falling 36c/kg to 1,126c/kg. Still, the EYCI is 29 per cent higher compared to this time last year. The decline was driven by the significant increase in cattle slaughter in the first week of February which has bolstered supply levels. The national heavy steer indicator also fell by one per cent in the past month, down to 805c/kg. The Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) fell three per cent to 1,101c/kg and is still 37 per cent higher year-on-year.

Following a month of well below average slaughter rates, Australia’s weekly cattle slaughter increased significantly in the first week of February with over 91,000 head. This was still a decline of eight per cent year-on-year. Production is expected to continue rising in the next month with saleyards and abattoirs returning closer to full capacity after being challenged by the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreaks.

Australia’s beef exports declined by 44 per cent month-on-month in January 2022. Exports to China received another blow with recent news that China banned beef imports from South Australia’s Naracoorte plant. This makes it the 10th abattoir in Australia to be banned. Chinese imports of Australian beef fell by 36 per cent month-on-month in January and were four per cent lower than this time last year. US exports also fell by 56 per cent month-on-month in January, falling to Australia’s fourth highest exporter of beef. Japanese exports also fell in the past month by 19 per cent month-on-month. South Korea’s safeguard tariff tax has eased to meet the agreements of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement. This has provided stability and will allow continued growth in the coming months.

Australia’s cattle prices are expected to continue easing marginally due to the rise of supply on the market. However, the favourable weather outlook and strong restocker demand, particularly in northern Australia, will continue to support prices at very high levels.


Source: Meat & Livestock Australia

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