National sheep supplies at markets reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service decreased 5% this week and remained 6% below the corresponding period last year. The reduced offerings this week was mainly attributed to the recent lower prices, as restocker demand remains subdued.
Slight decreases in throughput were recorded across the majority of states, however quality also improved. Bendigo recorded large percentages of well-conditioned sheep, while Tamworth reportedly had one of the best quality sheep yardings for some time. The fine weather in the central west of NSW resulted in some good quality sheep being yarded straight off shears at CTLX.
The smaller yarding at the SA Livestock Exchange resulted in some processors bidding against selective restocker activity. While the somewhat uncertain demand and tenuous seasonal conditions in WA continue to be reflected in prices, there have been reports of both restocker and feeder buyers seizing the opportunity to purchase quality lines at lower prices.
With the tightening of supplies and reports of good quality sheep yarded this week, the national mutton indicator finished Thursday 1¢ higher on 175¢/kg cwt – albeit still 80¢ below the five year average. The NSW mutton indicator gained 7¢ on last week to 189¢/kg cwt, while the Victorian mutton indicator lifted 1¢, to 178¢/kg cwt. In WA the mutton indicator was 5¢ higher for the week, at 156¢/kg cwt.
The high A$ and sluggish overseas demand continues to impact export returns, which has been flowing back through to direct to works rates, as rates this week slipped below 200¢/kg cwt across all states.
With a strong forecast for rain in coming days across the eastern states, combined with a short trading week next week, supplies would be expected to tighten next week. However, what impact this has on prices is very difficult to determine, given the reports of ample numbers continuing to flow direct to works and many processors booked for many weeks in advance.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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