Home > Australian beef – prices “off the boil”, but still set to “simmer nicely”

Australian beef – prices “off the boil”, but still set to “simmer nicely”

Editorial

While domestic cattle prices have come “off the boil”, they are expected to still “simmer nicely” during 2018, with producers forecast to enjoy a profitable year ahead, according to a new industry report.

In its just-released Australian 2018 Beef Cattle Seasonal Outlook, agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says a combination of increased cattle supply, reduced producer demand and weaker global prices will see domestic cattle prices ease back from the highs reached in 2017 to stabilise at just above five-year averages.

Cattle slaughter numbers are expected to rise marginally and overall Australian beef production to increase by three per cent for the year.

Report author, Rabobank senior animal proteins analyst Angus Gidley-Baird said while the cattle price declines would more than offset the small rise in production – meaning producers’ incomes would generally be lower in 2018 – the outlook was still for an overall profitable 2018 for Australia’s beef producers.

Four watch factors could however alter the “shape of the year”, and impact upon the fortunes of Australia’s beef sector, both for better and for worse, the report cautioned. These were: the possibility of a big, early Queensland wet season, fierce competition in Asian export markets, rapid growth in Chinese demand for live exports and increased US cow slaughter.

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