MarketPULSE December 2021/January 2022

Introduction

Table of contents

Moving into the New Year, Australian cattle regions are expected to experience favourable harvest conditions and improved seasonal conditions. These conditions are predicted to strengthen the national herd rebuild for 2022. Lamb livestock pricing and world demand have continued to increase. The decrease in available labour force is pushing up raw material costs. Pork pricing has increased with predicted expectations of market conditions easing, pushing customers to look for a cheaper protein option. Easing COVID-19 restrictions have led to a rise in price of boning birds due to the increase in supply and demand. There has been a strong local demand for Australian seafood with the easing of restrictions. Shortages of raw material, reduced capacity in fisheries, increasing cost of ocean freight, along with ongoing difficulty in securing space on containers and high buying trends has influenced the increased price worldwide of seafood.

Meat

Market developments according to Bindaree Beef, BE Campbell and MLA:

Beef

Predictions of above average rainfall for all major cattle regions is expected to strengthen the national herd rebuild

into 2022.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting that Australia will experience a mild La Niña. The favourable harvest conditions, along with the improved seasonal conditions should see increased availability of cattle at the end of 2022.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) broke new levels again hitting 1,102c/kg cwt. This is the first time it has broken the 1,100c/kg cwt mark.

As more channels open up and demand increases, there will be more demand on supply. This will be intensified further as the slaughter rates remain historically low (under 100,000 head per week).

Lamb

The national flock will continue to strengthen until 2023, this will be the nation’s largest flock since 2008.

There will not be any pricing relief before Easter 2022.

Livestock pricing continues to increase and the world demand is strengthening. There is a decrease in available labour with most abattoirs at 70 – 80% labour force, which is pushing up raw material costs.

Pork

Supply is tight, particularly around all middle articles (loins/bellies/ribs). Pricing has increased and does not look like it is going to ease.

Domestic consumption of pork has been increasing over the last decade, with beef consumption dropping over the same period.

Customers are looking for a cheaper protein option which is pushing the demand for pork up. Additionally, Brazil has stopped exporting pork to China, which has put more pressure on the Australian market.

Poultry

Relaxing COVID-19 restrictions has seen a rise in the price of boning birds due to the increase in supply and demand.

The demand for the back end of the bird (thigh, drumstick or Maryland) has risen recently, which may lead to future shortages and result in increased pricing.

Demand for chicken breast has remained stable.

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Seafood

All information provided is correct at time of submission and is subject to change due to unpredictable circumstances. Adverse weather conditions, currency fluctuations and other market influences, which are difficult to predict accurately, can impact pricing and supply on very short notice.

Salmon

Norwegian Atlantic Salmon

The underlying demand for salmon product is strong worldwide, with Norway becoming the largest globally farmed salmon supplier. Norway has seen a 15% increase in salmon exports. With the high demand for salmon, prices are at a higher average level compared to 2020.

Farming is performing strongly with a biomass 2-3% higher year on year. This will help ensure supply continuity.

COVID-19 is still an issue in Norway, with lockdowns expected. Production capacity is a new challenge and must be considered when forecasting new orders. The current consensus indicates that prices in 2022 will be higher than in 2021.

Barramundi

Local Wild Caught

Strong local demand for Australian seafood has continued and is leading to high prices and buying trends.

Usual challenges saw numbers yielded fairly high. The fish that were caught were majority medium sized fish. These were still out on the foreshores, causing fishers to rely less on the mouths of the rivers where the larger of the species usually dwell. Water temperatures rose, yet conditions were still favourable and the quality was excellent.

With the shift in market needs, fishers continued good packaging measures and the fillet grading of product was at its highest.

Imported

COVID-19 restrictions continue to impact the supply of imported Barramundi fillets, with 35% reduction in availability compared to 2020.

A predicted cold winter in the region will see farmers sending fish to market earlier than normal in the remainder of 2021 and into 2022.

International suppliers continue to struggle in securing shipping. Therefore, further delays are expected.

Pricing remains firm, with rising shipping costs continuing to be an issue.

Basa

Pricing of Basa continues to increase in all export markets due to the overall effects of COVID-19 restrictions.

Shortage of raw material and the increasing cost of ocean freight, along with ongoing difficulty in securing space on containers is expected to see this trend continue until the situation improves in the region.

Flathead

South American Flathead

Limited new shipments impacted by shipping delays have caused short supply.

Demand for value added raw material is also limiting availability for processing into fillets.

Overall, a shortfall is expected in the flathead market, although incoming product will shortly be available.

Pricing has risen, compared to previous shipments to the Australian market, and is likely to keep increasing due to rising shipping costs.

Scallops

Peru

Production has now ceased in this fishery with available raw material remaining in the water unharvested. All available product has been supplied roe-off to the United States market while orders for the Australian market remain unfilled.

As a result, prices have increased to the Australian and New Zealand markets, at least until limited harvesting resumes in early 2022 to alleviate the current shortage.

Japan

Pricing of held stocks remain high, with existing shell stock continuing to ship to China at vastly higher prices.

China

Prices of Chinese roe-on scallops continue to trend upwards. Availability of frozen raw in-shell material from Japan to China is low due to the complete closure of the Dalian port and cold stores, which is the traditional destination for this material.

Local interest and the prospect of sales in Australia continues to increase as a result, as COVID-19 lockdowns in the region continue.

Canadian - frozen at sea

TThe Canadian fishery is winding down for the season with the bulk of the quota now caught. Overall, catch rates and pack mix for the season was on par with last year.

Scallop shortages are expected to continue into 2022, keeping upward pressure on pricing, particularly on the larger sizes – U10 and 10/20.

Strong demand continues in all markets, although increased COVID-19 cases in Europe are expected to impact Christmas trade.

Local - Queensland

The scallop fishery will remain closed until the end of January 2022.

On re-opening, the fishing will be limited to a small area near Frazer Island. This will lead to limited supply and continued price increases. Remaining 2021 stock is very limited and prices for all grades have increased.

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Canadian Lobster

With the northern winter season now underway, most of the focus will be on live exports and frozen supply to the United States. Most whole cooked products and small tails are sold out with the next opportunity coming in spring 2022.

Tail prices and cooked meat remain at all-time highs with inventory still relatively light. There are some signs of price resistance.

Autumn fishing in some areas is underway with an unchanged shore price. Catches are lower than expected, resulting in low supply.

Most market participants are anticipating the autumn Canadian fishing season opening in the main fishery, the largest producing zone in Canada. There are hopes that this may relieve some pressure on supply and price.

Florida Lobster

For the first time in 20 years there has not been any whole frozen Florida Lobster shipped to Australia.

Prices and demand remain strong in Europe, with limited labour available in the Keys. It is unlikely that Australia will be seeing any further offers of whole cooked within this season.

Production of frozen from other Caribbean fisheries such as Belize and Nicaragua might still be seen but not in any large volume. Live demand to China from Florida is also expected to increase in the lead up to Chinese New Year.

Brazil Lobster

Production will not re-open until July 2022. Whole cooked from Brazil has been shipped to Australia in limited volumes due to importer concerns on Australian lobster supply.

Due to new size limit rules in place for 2022, it is unlikely there will be too many more 4oz tails, which has become a major percentage of Australian lobster imports over recent years.

Provided that Australia can compete with Chinese demand for small and medium whole raw, they are likely to be an increasing supply.

United States demand for 5oz+ tails remain strong with prices at historical highs and chances for even further increases.

Western Australia Lobster

Domestic Australian markets appear empty with all avenues of retail and food service awaiting new season supplies.

With the continuing China and Australia dispute, live exports have reduced. Producers are hoping to take advantage of the local shortages and expect a strong Christmas demand.

As for prices, significantly higher tail prices in USA this year will draw a line in the sand for processors of whole cooked lobster.

Prawns

Imported

Thailand whole cooked

Over the past weeks raw material prices have increased $2.00 USD + ($2.80 AUD). Lower prices are not expected until new season

volumes become available in May 2022.

Raw prawn cutlets/meat

Prices for raw prawn cutlets and meat remain high out of all major producing countries. The driver has been a rapid spike in demand from North America and Europe.

As a direct result of COVID-19, production capacity has been drastically reduced with some processors forced to close.

It is not expected to see any improvement in supply and relief in the pricing until after the Lunar New Year.

Local

East Coast and Torres Straight Tigers and Kings

Prawn catches remain at low levels with the most of the catch being kept raw. National inventory levels remain low with prices high, increasing pressure on the farmed Tigers.

Prices for East Coast Kings have continued to rise to record levels. It is not expected to see any improvement in availability or price until after Easter 2022.

Southern King Prawns

Low east coast catch prices remain high.

The next fishing period leaves little or no time for stock to be made available for Christmas sales.

Banana Prawns

The second half of the 2021 Gulf Banana Prawn season has improved, predominantly yielding Red Leg Banana. The bulk of the Red Leg Banana Prawns will be exported with limited catches of White Bananas.

Inventory is at low levels, and prices remain at record highs.

Gulf Tigers

The 2021 season is closed, with catches below 50% of the 2020 season. There is little or no inventory and prices are at record high levels.

Bugs

Local Queensland

Moreton Bay Bug catches remain low due to the closure of the scallop fishery.

New Zealand fish supply

Hoki

Hoki season has ended in New Zealand with high quality fish stocks from the west coast fishing ground secured via the new quota shelving.

Stock remains available to the Australian market for Tasmanian Blue Grenadier (Hoki) MSC, bolstering Hoki supplies.

Smooth Dory

The current season is winding down with new season fillets shortly to be available to the Australian market.

New Zealand mussels

The new season has commenced with production slow due to COVID-19 related labour restrictions.

Global demand has increased and this combination has pushed prices higher than the 2020 season.

New Zealand oysters

The remaining wild supply of New Zealand oysters for this season are being harvested and processed.

Larger sizes are expected to remain limited until May 2022. Hatchery product will be available over this hiatus, but will be limited in number and confined to standard and medium sizes only.

Squid

Argentina Illex

Illex prices are softening from recent heights. However, the market for this species has reduced in Australia. Buyers prefer mainly Japan Common, Gigas and New Zealand Squid.

New Zealand Arrow

The season for New Zealand Arrow has finished with some stocks remaining in cold storage awaiting shipment to China, Australia and the European Union.

There has been an increased freight and demurrage cost while clearing in China marking triple that of last year. This has caused significant issues for future pricing of the value-added products.

There have been substantial shipments of whole round squid to Australia where factory owners in Melbourne have been processing into tubes and tentacles for the local market.

Japan Common (Todarodes)

Good catches have been dependent on water temperatures in the Sea of Okhotsk, East China and Japan.

Due to very hot summers experienced in Far East Russia, China and Japan, the main squid biomass, have moved to areas further north as expected.

The resulting catch was 60% lower than normal with Japanese holders of squid import quota securing at very high prices.

Gigas

Catches of the larger grades were going very well in the inshore waters of Peru but fishing has ceased due to adverse weather conditions and change in water temperatures.

Sales of this species have increased in all markets due to the lower price and better recovery.

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Potatoes

Market developments according to World Potato Markets:

Continental Europe

The total European potato crop is down by more than 5% on last year, but still larger than the 2019 harvest. The 2021 European crop is at 51.854 million tonnes, 5.6% down on last year.

The European-4 (Germany, France, Netherlands and Belgium) make up 57.3% of the production of the 27-country bloc, while the European-4 and the United Kingdom make up 61.2% of European and United Kingdom production, which is up from 60.8% last year.

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Wheat

Market developments according to Mauri ANZ:

Domestic

Wheat harvest is thought to be 85% complete with no quality downgrades, New South Wales harvest has been slowed by

intermittent showers and is thought to be less than 10% complete.

High protein wheat premiums have started to firm. Trade hard wheat offers are difficult to come by everywhere but Queensland and recent rains in New South Wales will make it hard to source any new crop until harvest recommences.

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Global

FOB PNW United States hard wheat fell US$8/T and French soft wheat rallied US$5/T.

Saudia Arabia bought double the amount (1.2 million tonnes) than they tendered for. Despite United States wheat weakening against other exporters, it still remains $10/T more expensive than the world’s largest two exporters (the European and Black Sea countries, including Russia).

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Dairy

Market developments according to Anchor Food Professionals Global Dairy Intelligence Group:

Imports and exports:

New Zealand

New Zealand milk production for the past 12 months was 1.3% higher on a litres basis (up 0.3% on a milk solids basis) than last year. A colder and wetter start to spring this season compared to last year is impacting production volumes. 

Australia

Australian milk production for the 12 past months was 0.2% lower than last year. Wetter, cooler than average conditions, lower herd numbers, farm sales and labour shortages are reducing total Australian milk production.

European Union

European Union milk production for the past 12 months was up 0.3% compared to the same period last year, driven by higher volumes across several countries. Higher production volumes were driven by Italy, Ireland and France and partially offset by lower volumes in Germany and the Netherlands.

All information provided is correct at time of publication and is subject to change due to unpredictable circumstances. Adverse weather conditions, currency fluctuations and other market influences which are difficult to predict accurately, that can impact pricing and supply. E&O.E

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References

  • Anchor Food Professionals. (2021). Perspective. The latest insights in global dairy markets. NZMP.
  • World Potato Markets. (2021). Agri Markets Limited.