A steady cattle trade was reported for the week ending August 26th on the back of good demand with little change in supply trends of recent weeks noted.
In general, steers were purchased at a base price of around €3.85/kg while heifers were making €3.95/kg on the Quality Payment System with selected lots achieving higher prices. These prices exclude the €0.12 bonus payable on in-spec QA animals. Looking at cows, O grade cow prices are generally in the range between €3.05/kg and €3.20/kg.
Cattle supplies at Irish export meat plants for the week ending August 21st reached just over 30,500 head which was 3% higher compared to the corresponding week last year. Cumulatively, supplies of young bulls are up 29% compared to the equivalent period in 2015 while cows are up 4% on 2015 numbers. Heifers remain on a par with year previous levels and steers are back 2%. Total year to date supply at export meat plants is up 3% or 27,000 head at over 1 million head. The latest net production data from January to July 2016 is showing a 2% rise in production compared to the same period in 2015.
In Britain, the market continues to be underpinned by tight supplies at present with demand relatively good as a result of the fine weather which is boosting trade for steak cuts. Reported cattle prices from the AHDB show that GB R4L grade steers are averaging at Stg 359 pence/kg dw (equivalent to 420 cent/kg dw) for the week ended 20th August. Meanwhile in Northern Ireland the average R3 steer price was making the equivalent of 389 cents/kg. The euro was making around 86p sterling during the week which leaves the euro significantly stronger than year earlier levels.
In France, the market remains unchanged with difficulties ongoing in getting imported product into retailers. Promotions were taking place in all major retailers focusing on domestically produced mince and roasting joints. The R3 young bull price was down 2c, on average making €3.54/kg while the O3 cow price was back 7c making around €3.07/kg.
In Italy, little change has been reported in the market this week. The latest R3 young bull price was unchanged, on average making €3.76/kg while the O3 cow price was still making around €2.47/kg.
Globally Brazilian exports have been slow during the month of August on the back of reduced demand from MENA, China and Russia. In Argentina, prices for steers have gone up on the back of reduced throughputs while in contrast in Paraguay throughputs from January to July this year are up 13% compared to the corresponding period last year.
Meanwhile, In New Zealand the seasonal ease in supplies has begun while in Australia the latest outlook is pointing towards a 15% decline in production for the full year 2016 leading to an anticipated 20% drop in export volumes. Early indications of herd rebuilding have been noted with preliminary estimates pointing towards a recovery in production in 2018.