Can the EYCI maintain its momentum?

14 March 2018

After gaining 22.25¢ over the course of last week, the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) opened strongly this week at 566.75¢/kg carcase weight (cwt) – the highest the indicator has been in 2018 so far. On Tuesday, the EYCI pulled back slightly to 562.25¢, as Roma Store and Warwick didn’t match the very strong sales of last week, although this is still up 4.5¢ on last week.

Rain leads to an increase in prices

Rain has continued to fall across much of Queensland and north-east NSW over the last week, which has seen prices increase across all buyer types for EYCI eligible cattle in these states, reflecting reduced supplies and heightened competition with the prospect of more feed on offer.

The recent upswing in the EYCI has followed a similar trend seen in 2017. The early-autumn rise in prices last year was off the back of the heavy rains brought by Cyclone Debbie, and restockers purchased the largest proportion of EYCI eligible cattle at that time.

This year, however, lot feeders are purchasing the largest proportion (which has been the case since mid-October 2017). Last week, lot feeders purchased 51% of EYCI eligible cattle, restockers accounted for 38% and processors made up the remainder.

EYCI

The wet conditions across key supply regions in Queensland restricted the movement of cattle in some areas and encouraged many producers hold on to stock. Last week, the state’s total  throughput decreased by just over 7,000 head week-on-week, with the absence of a sale at Roma Prime, and large declines at Roma Store and Dalby of 3,142 and 3,453 head, respectively. In contrast, NSW saleyard throughput was almost 2,000 head higher week-on-week, as central and western parts of the state await relief from a dry and hot summer.

Queensland slaughter for the week ending 9 March declined 8% week-on-week, totalling just over 58,000 head. The NSW cattle kill eased 1% on the week prior, to almost 34,000 head.

Over-the-hook indicators

Queensland over-the-hook cattle indicators have also shifted upwards this week, recording increases of 8–10¢/kg cwt across all categories, with reports supplies have slowed as the recent rains reignite restocker and feeder appetite for store cattle.

NSW cattle over-the-hook indicators increased 4–5¢/kg cwt week-on-week across most categories. Over-the-hook indicators and saleyards prices in Victoria have tracked steady with the previous week, with little to no rain received in the past week in western NSW, Victoria and SA.

Paddock feeder prices have also risen this week with many citing a price rise in order to secure numbers.

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