Debbie fuels over-the-hook indicator rise

04 April 2017

Tropical cyclone Debbie, and associated rain from the system, inspired a lift in over-the-hook indicators this and last week, as supplies tightened and restocker demand received a boost.

In Queensland, yearlings (300-320kg, 0-2 tooth) lifted 8¢, with steers averaging 517¢ and heifers settling on 512¢/kg cwt. Similar specification MSA lines jumped 10¢, with steers and heifers averaging 536¢ and 531¢/kg cwt, respectively. Heavy grown steers (300-400kg, 0-4 tooth), on the other hand, lifted 8¢ and averaged 512¢ while cows (300-400kg, 0-8 tooth) recorded an increase of 9¢ to 459¢/kg cwt.

Further south, indicators followed a similar trend. Yearling steers and heifers in NSW lifted 7¢ to 543¢ and 535¢, respectively, and MSA lines jumped 11¢/kg cwt. Cows topped at 471¢, up 8¢/kg week-on-week. Meanwhile, heavy grown steers increased only marginally, averaging 530¢/kg cwt.

Over-the-hook cow indicators in Victoria did not increase by the same magnitude as their northern counterparts, lifting 2¢ to a top of 448¢/kg cwt. Yearling steers settled on 546¢ and heifers averaged 529¢, both increasing 7¢, and heavy grown steers lifted 4¢ to 543¢/kg cwt.

The latest price rise indicates how tight supply remains – Queensland cattle slaughter last week was just 50,000 head, back 23% week-on-week and the lowest full processing week in the last five years. Despite the poor BOM three month outlook, competition posed by restockers may maintain prices at similar levels for the short term.

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