Seasonal conditions strongly influence markets in October

04 January 2016

Rainfall in October was ‘below average’ across most of the country, attributed to a run of hot and dry days at the beginning of the month, which saw cattle supplies surge and prices decline. The only area to record ‘above average’ rainfall was northern and central WA.

Nationally, saleyard throughput of cattle in October lifted 15% year-on-year, to 325,164 head. NSW was the only state with reduced consignments, back 4% to 111,648 head, while Queensland continued to feel the pressure of increased supply, lifting 33%, to 98,507 head. SA and Victoria increased their yardings by 32% and 14%, to 26,779 head and 65,193 head, respectively. WA cattle supplies increased 66%, totalling 22,163 head – the highest monthly throughput since NLRS began reporting in WA.

Average weekly eastern states cattle slaughter was fairly similar to September at 152,999 head, but down 10% year-on-year.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) came very close to hitting 600¢/kg cwt in September, however a significant and rapid fall in the first week of October saw it ease around 30¢/kg cwt in one week. Despite the decline, the EYCI still remained at least 200¢/kg cwt above the level of one year ago. At the end of October, much needed rainfall was received across Queensland, NSW and Victoria, boosting the EYCI to finish the month at 546.50¢/kg cwt.

National cattle indicators in October continued to outperform year-ago levels, regardless of the seasonal decline in prices which typically occurs during October and November. Heavy steers (500-600kg C4) were 93¢ higher year-on-year, at 292¢/kg lwt, while the medium cow indicator (400-520kg D3) gained 61¢ to 215¢/kg lwt. Medium steers (400-500kg C3) averaged 280¢ for the month, up 87¢/kg lwt, while trade steers (330-400kg C3) lifted 102¢ to settle on 297¢/kg lwt.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s three month outlook forecasts hotter and drier conditions ahead for the south east, driven by the strengthening El Nino in the Pacific region. However, the first day of November did see some good rainfall in central Queensland, most of NSW and Victoria’s Gippsland, and followed by large falls across NSW, Victoria and south-east SA and south-east Queensland in the first week of November.

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