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Insights May 2022

9 May 2022 |Cattle
Cattle image

Insights May 2022

9 May 2022 |Cattle
The May 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

  • Australian cattle prices were declining for the first three weeks of April, before rising in the last week of the month.
  • Falling slaughter rates from public holidays and COVID Issues applied downwards pressure on prices.
  • Australian beef exports experienced a decline month-on-month and remain lower year-on-year.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) declined throughout the first three weeks of April, falling to 1,072c/kg, before rising in the first week of May to 1,108c/kg. The EYCI is five per cent lower than the start of 2022, but 25 per cent higher when compared to this time last year. The Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) rose 8.4 per cent throughout the last month to 1,222c/kg, 28 per cent higher year-on-year. The national heavy steer indicator rose 9.5 per cent during the last month, ending at 843c/kg.

Australia’s weekly slaughter declined at the beginning of April, before rising to finish higher than the start of the month. Slaughter rates for the first week of May were 17 per cent lower than the first week of April. This is a 16 per cent decline when compared to this time last year. Reduced slaughter was on the back of plants closing for public holidays around Easter and ANZAC day. Additionally, weather issues and staff shortages impacted slaughter rates. It is expected that slaughter rates will begin to climb throughout the next month.

Australian beef exports trended downwards by 17 per cent month-on-month in April and were 15 per cent lower year-on-year. Exports to Japan declined by 31 per cent, leaving them 25 per cent below this time last year. South Korea, China and the US all experienced declines between 10-20 per cent month-on-month. China continues to remain Australia’s second largest beef exporter for 2022 so far. Lockdowns in Beijing and Shanghai throughout the last month has impacted ports, shipping, and trade with Australia, contributing to the decline in exports to China.

Australia’s cattle prices are expected to continue easing due to an increase in supply during the coming months. A favourable weather outlook in most cattle regions should sustain firm restocker demand. This will assist prices to remain supported well above average levels.


 Source: Meat & Livestock Australia

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