The supply of cattle to the factories has commenced to tighten over the past week, and prices are showing signs of a hardening in the trade for this week.
Intake at the plants slipped below 34,000 head last week, ending consecutive weeks of upward supply, and early indications are that returns will deliver up to 5 cents/kg of an improvement for supplies this week.
The factories are, in general, offering 380 cents/kg as a base for the steers.
However, it is understood, that many of them are willing to pay up to 385 cents/kg to get stock, and some reports of up to 390 cents/kg as a base for steers, have been reported from around the country.
Most of the factories are willing to pay 395 cents/kg as a base for heifers and some deals at up to 400 cents/kg are being reported by producers.
The cow prices are also showing a strengthening this week, with gains reported, particularly at the lower end of the range, as good O/P grade cows are being bought on a base of up to 325 cents/kg and, in general, O/P grade cows are ranging from 315 cents/kg.
There is good demand for the quality R grade cows and processors are willing to pay up to 345 cents/kg to get supplies.
The drop in supply was reflected across most categories in last week’s kill, with the intake overall back by over 1,500 head on the previous week and bringing to an end the consecutive weeks of upward movement in supply.
The intake of young bulls slipped to around 3,500 head, coming from a high of nearly 5,000 in prior weeks, while steers were back to 12,500 head and heifers on around 9,500. Cows held strong at 7,000 head for the week.
The trend will be closely watched for the nest week or two to determine if the slippage is only a temporary blip or has the spring supply peak passed for 2017.
The trade in the UK has steadied during the past week on the back of strong retail demand, with supplies remaining relatively strong.
Prices recovered slightly in sterling terms and the R4L grade steers were averaging at 360.7 pence/kg which was equivalent to 436 cent/kg (incl Vat) with the exchange rates at €1 making on average 86.6 pence sterling.
In France, the market showed little change on the trends of recent weeks.
Demand was reported to low for the offal type products and also traditional cuts such as entrecotes and steaks. Domestic produced product was performing best, while promotions are limited at retail level to domestically produced ribs.
In Italy, meanwhile, the market remained relatively quiet last week.
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