October 17, 2003



Cattle Prices in Australia Slip From High Levels


Cattle prices in Australian saleyards lost ground this week, as the strong market in the previous week enticed a sharp rise in supply, marketing concern Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd. reported Friday.


MLA reported a 25% increase in yardings of beasts this week, with this enough to overcome demand and weight on prices.


Price falls were most evident for export steers, with demand in key North Asian markets still subdued, it said.


However, demand for cows remains strong, with restocker interest rekindled following recent rains and U.S. beef prices high, it said in a weekly market review.


Almost two-thirds of Australian beef production is exported, making it a major world beef exporter and making export demand an important driver of prices in domestic saleyards.


In the U.S., the major export market by volume, domestic manufacturing beef prices jumped this week, helped by only light offerings of imported meat, MLA said.


In the U.S., Australian frozen 95 chemical lean bull beef rose 3 cents this week to US$1.20 a pound, including carriage, insurance and freight, up from US$0.98/lb a year ago.


Frozen 90CL cow beef added 5 cents to US$1.11/lb, up  US$0.90 a year ago.


The free on board prices in Australia for these products rose 10 cents and 16 cents to A$3.49 a kilogram estimated dressed weight and A$3.21/kg, respectively, free alongside.


In Australian saleyards, a national price indicator for cows suitable for the U.S. trade, eased 1 cent to close the week at A$2.81 a kilogram estimated carcass weight, up from A$1.99 a year ago.


In Japan, the second biggest export market by volume, prices pushed higher as a strong U.S. market, coupled with tight supply from Australia and low stocks in Japan "left importers with little choice but to purchase at higher prices," it said.


Prices in Japan for Australian chilled grassfed fullsets rose 2 cents to close the week at US$1.84/pound, including carriage and freight, still well up from a year-ago level of US$1.44/lb.


The estimated free on board price for this product in Australia gained 8 cents to A$5.48 this week, up from A$5.36/kg free alongside a year ago.


In Australia, a national price indicator for the type of beast suitable for Japan slipped 8 cents to close at A$3.28/kg, up from A$2.64/kg a year ago.


Meanwhile, a national price indicator for the type of beast suitable for the South Korea trade fell 6 cents to close the week at A$3.20/kg, again, up from A$2.52/kg a year ago.


A national price indicator for domestic trade steers lost 4 cents to A$3.39/kg, up from a year-ago level of A$2.59/kg.



Source: Meat & Livestock Australia
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