Insights May 2023
Insights May 2023
- Australian cattle prices are expected to remain relatively stable throughout the next month as supply rebounds following a month of lower slaughter rates due to public holidays closing markets and processing centres.
- National beef exports are also likely to rise in May as supply levels begin to return to normal and US supply continues to decrease.
Australian cattle prices are likely to remain relatively stable during the next month. The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) is currently situated at 651c/kg, the lowest point since February 2020. The EYCI in early May was 5.1 per cent lower month-on-month and down 41 per cent from a year ago. The recent decline in cattle prices throughout the first third of 2023 has been on the back of rising supply levels. This has come from the past two years of herd rebuilding which has more cattle reaching slaughter weights.
National slaughter rates decreased throughout the last week of April, finishing 15.5 per cent lower when compared to the last week of March. This is due to multiple public holidays in April causing markets and abattoirs to close. Despite the April slowdown, year-to-date slaughter rates across all states continue to be higher in 2023. Significant growth has been recorded in Queensland and Victoria of 23 and 18 per cent respectively. The week ending 21st April, with no public holidays, continued the recent trend of national slaughter staying above 110,000 head recorded during February and March. It is expected slaughter rates will return to similar levels during the next month as markets return to normal operating days. Further growth will be restricted by processing capacity being near full capacity.
Decreased slaughter led to Australian beef exports experiencing a significant decrease in April. Total beef exports fell 27 per cent month-on-month to just over 72,000 tonnes. With the public holidays throughout April causing a decline in slaughter rates it is expected that beef exports will rise in May. National beef exports sit 16.8 per cent higher than this time last year and on par with 2021 levels. Year-to-date national exports sit 23 per cent firmer than 2022 and 7.5 per cent higher than 2021. This is driven by a 31 per cent increase in exports to China and a 37 per cent increase to the US. Exports to Japan recorded moderate growth of 9.5, whilst South Korea sits 30.4 per cent stronger. With US supply forecast to continue declining throughout 2023, opportunities for Australian beef into China, Japan, South Korea and the US are likely to improve in the coming months.
Source: Meat & Livestock Australia
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