Australian Cattle Mkt: Supply Up But Prices Hold Steady

AUSTRALIA - Beef cattle prices in Australian saleyards settled mixed again this week, despite a 9% jump in the number of beasts offered at major centers, marketing concern Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd. reported Friday. Scattered rain in the past week across eastern Australia may have come too late for some areas, where the feed and water situation is at critically low levels, spurring producers' decisions to sell this week, it said in a weekly market review.
calendar icon 15 September 2006
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More than half the young cattle offered were bought by processors while lotfeeders bought a quarter, with the poor seasonal conditions keeping purchases by restockers to just 19%, it said.

Prices across most categories of young cattle have stabilized, with a rolling seven-day benchmark Eastern Young Cattle Indicator recouping the previous week's loss in settling 1 cent higher on Thursday at A$3.56 a kilogram estimated carcass weight, down from A$4.11/kg a year earlier.

Around two-thirds of Australian beef production is exported, making export demand an important driver of prices in domestic saleyards. Australia is the second-biggest global exporter of beef, after Brazil.

Demand for Australian beef has been strong from late 2003, mostly due to a lack of competition from the U.S. in South Korea and Japan, with the latter in late July lifting an import ban and clearing the way for exports to resume, while imports by South Korea will resume Oct. 6, MLA said. The annual value of beef exports in the last fiscal year ended June 30 fell 7% to A$4.54 billion on a drop in volume.

MLA said exporters to Japan received steady inquiries this week, with Japanese wholesalers buying only what they needed to operate, despite relatively tight stocks, leaving prices little changed.

Buyers are adopting a wait and see approach to the reentry of U.S. beef to Japan, it said. Thus far, volumes clearing customs have reportedly been low, given the conditions placed on the trade, it said.


TheCattleSite news desk

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