Cattle exports remain subdued

11 May 2017

Feeder and slaughter cattle exports in April were just 58,000 head, bringing the year-to-date total to 223,000 head, 41% below year-ago volumes, as highlighted in the latest edition of Livelink. Conditions have remained much the same since the start of the year, with exports being restricted by lower availability of Australia cattle, high cattle prices and a variety of in market challenges.

Year-to-April shipments to Indonesia were back 18%, at 159,000 head, influenced by a combination of supply limitations out of Australia and the emergence of Indian buffalo meat (IBM) across the country. With Ramadan commencing at the end of May, shipments would have needed to clear customs in April to supply the religious consumption period – therefore the historical surge in cattle exports looks unlikely.

The domestic market also appears to have been impacted by the presence of IBM, with local slaughter numbers also tracking lower. Political uncertainty across Indonesia is also contributing to a decline in consumer buying power.

Current wet market prices for IBM in the Greater Jakarta area continue to vary and range from IDR 75,000-105,000/kg, while fresh beef trades at a premium from IDR 110,000-120,000/kg.

Exports of feeder and slaughter cattle to Vietnam totalled almost 14,000 head in April, an increase on the two months prior, albeit off a low base. Feeder and slaughter exports to Malaysia have halved over the past year, underpinned by an unfavourable exchange rate and cheaper Thai cattle entering the country.

Live feeder cattle delivered to Darwin are currently $3.30-3.40/kg lwt – about 10% lower since January but a typical trend for this time of year, as mustering gets under way and additional numbers begin to flow through the system.

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