Steer Prices at highest level in a year

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Cattle Market: Steer Prices at record since 2023

After 5 weeks of consecutive increases in steer prices, this segment of the cattle market reaches their highest levels since June of last year.

Supply is constantly reduced, with animals losing body condition and excess rainfall, delaying the preparation of cattle from green pastures.

Cattle Prices

For steers, current prices are between US$3.70 and US$3.80 per kilogram, and there are references for cows between US$3.40 and US$3.45 per kilo.

In both categories, prices achieved above these references for special and volume lots. Kosher activity in some plants

Entries are fast.

The market is moving between stability and rising prices. Diego Arrospide, rural producer and cattle broker consider that this rebound could continue, unless the industry puts a stop to it with a drop in activity.

Cattle slaughter

Last week’s slaughter fell 4% compared to the previous week, going from 48,239 to 46,246 heads of cattle, with the participation of the feedlot covering part of the shortage of pasture cattle.

Without the peak supply that usually occurs at this time of year, slaughter so far in May is 4.3% lower than in the same month last year.

“There is a hole (in supply) for the next two months,” said Diego Arrospide, CEO of Escritorio Arrospide.

Between the excessive rains and the arrival of the first cold weather, cattle  lost body condition. This is added to the delay in feeding. Many people are not planting, and the impact of exports of live fat steers, which have further reduced the availability of cattle for slaughter.

The market is firming up due to this lack of cattle, but not due to any strengthening of demand or international beef prices.

In fact, the SIAL food fair took place in Shanghai, China, this week. It showed a lukewarm market, with fewer business deals closed, low prices and moderate expectations of a recovery in the second half of the year.

Last week, the export price for beef reached a maximum in 2024, with an average of US$4,679 per ton, although this is a temporary reference due to the impact of shipments to the European Union within quota 481.

In the last 30 moving days, the price has risen from US$4,050 to US$4,217 per ton, the highest in 11 weeks, according to preliminary data from the National Meat Institute (INAC).

What about the future?

The proximity of winter is cooling the market, with a step down in values and a demand that remains active, but is more cautious. The supply of calves is beginning to dwindle and more pregnant cattle are appearing. “There is still a fluid market beyond some price tug-of-war, placing without problems and with active feedlots,” commented Arrospide.

The lean/fat ratio is starting to become more attractive for feeders.

In this week’s virtual auctions, there was more selective demand and adjustments were seen in almost all categories.

Sheep market

The supply of sheep is minimal, pushing prices to their highest since October 2022.

Lambs are above an average of US$3.65, wethers US$2.94 and ewes US$2.87.

Sheep slaughter last week reached a minimum since July 2023, with 7,755 head, and so far in May shows a year-on-year drop of 61%.

Wednesday June 12th, 2024 | Por Arrospide