The short week and recent rain were the main influencing factors on any change in livestock prices this week, as returns from most export markets show few signs of lifting.
While trade and heavy lamb prices increased slightly this week, light lamb categories edged lower, and cattle prices declined across most categories.
With global demand continuing to track at subdued levels, positive news for Australian exporters in recent months has been rare.
Indeed, the export performance for both beef and lamb so far in 2012 could be summarised as greater volumes, but disappointing returns, with a few bright spots – such as manufacturing beef to the US and lamb shipments to the Middle East.
While the lower A$ throughout May and early June helped to cushion the blow from another bout of global jitters, it has edged higher in the past week, again flirting with parity.
With beef production seasonally contracting into the third quarter, there is time for export beef demand to improve in order to cope with the increase in cattle supplies expected to come through in late spring and early summer.
However, given the global pessimism at the moment, where and when this improvement could come from is still difficult to gauge.
A return to selling at Roma this week contributed to a jump in Queensland yardings, erasing any reduction anticipated from the Monday holiday.
Heavy steer prices in Queensland slipped 1¢ on last week, to 326¢/kg cwt, while nationally, cows dropped 7¢, to 269¢/kg cwt.
Nationally, trade lambs averaged 5¢ higher, at 421¢/kg cwt, while light and Merino lambs slipped 1¢ and 15¢, respectively.
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