MarketPULSE October/November 2021

Introduction

Table of contents

The cattle herd is in a re-building phase. Slaughter numbers are down further than projected. The reason for this is an abundance of feed which is encouraging stock retention. Record cattle prices are continuing to increase, with the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) breaking records at 941.5c, which has since increased further to 997c. The national flock continues to re-build after falling to their lowest levels in 2020. New South Wales young lambs are dominating national yardings with supply doing little to dampen demand and the average price reaching a state record of $230/head. Pork markets are stable despite the impacts to businesses. Smallgoods that predominantly use imported meats are dealing with increases in the costs of global trade and shipping costs associated with COVID-19. Prices are following the normal seasonal downward trend. However, based on all reports including the below forward price index, prices are expected to rise into Christmas and remain high for the first quarter of 2022. Supply of imported Flathead has waned due to the boats in the South American fishery moving south, fishing the more expensive and higher demand red prawn. As they have returned only recently, the likelihood of flathead in plentiful supply could be in doubt until later in the year.

Meat

Beef

The cattle herd is in a re-building phase. Slaughter numbers are down further than projected. The reason for this is an abundance of feed which is encouraging stock retention.

Record cattle prices are continuing to increase, with the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) breaking records at 941.5c, which has since increased further to 997c.

Global feed prices have increased in recent months driven by the Canadian and United States drought, which has seen some crops yield only 20% of their harvest. Increases have also been driven by higher demand for corn for the production of sanitiser.

United States 90CL prices are a good indicator for the value of beef primals used for roasting, mincing and dicing in Australia. US 90CL prices are at record highs.

Lamb

The national flock continues to re-build after falling to their lowest levels in 2020.

New South Wales young lambs are dominating national yardings with supply doing little to dampen demand and the average price reaching a state record of $230/head.

The National Trade Lamb Indicator (NTLI) hit all-time records in August 2021 at 951c, increasing by 33% in the last 12 months.

Pork

Pork markets are stable despite the impacts to businesses. Smallgoods that predominantly use imported meats are dealing with increases in the costs of global trade and shipping costs associated with COVID-19.

Relative data from this time last year is expected to see increases due to supply and demand.

Summer infertility starts to show this time of year, with lower herd numbers.

As it gets warmer, live pig weight is also reduced as their appetite diminishes.

Poultry

It is very difficult to predict where prices are trending at the moment due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Market prices have eased but as restrictions are relaxed it is expected that the price of boning birds will increase due to increased demand.

Bird producers have adjusted bird numbers due to the current situation which again will affect prices as demand returns.

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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

As can be seen in the below Fishpool price index Norwegian prices year on year have been higher than in 2020. Prices are following the normal seasonal downward trend. However, based on all reports including the below forward price index, prices are expected to rise into Christmas and remain high for the first quarter of 2022.
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With unexpected high demand from the European and United Kingdom foodservice sector, combined with continued strong demand in retail production, capacity
is limited.

As a result, all new contracts are at 20% plus 2020 prices. Without any unexpected changes to the current situation it isn’t expected to see any softening in forward salmon prices until quarter three and quarter four 2022.

Barramundi

Local Wild Caught

The lead up to end of season has been a mixed bag. There were good unloads from the fleet in August with strong market demand continuing and stock has moved quickly through the market as a result.

The northern half of Australia has experienced exceptionally windy conditions and this has hampered fishing efforts immensely.

Some vessels have not been able to fish for up to 50% of the last 50 days. This will undoubtedly lead to limited product being available in the off season.

With a portion of the fleet already turning to Mackerel fishing, it is unlikely sufficient Barramundi will be secured in the last few weeks of the season.

It is anticipated that these cumulative effects will exert upward pressure on pricing for what little stock will be available over the coming months, leading up to the return in February 2022.

Imported

COVID-19 restrictions continue to impact the supply of imported Barramundi fillets, particularly in the smaller 100/200g and 200/300g grades.

Although availability of these sizes is gradually improving, international suppliers are having increasing issues in securing shipping, so further delays are expected.

Pricing remains firm but is expected to increase due to limited raw material and rising shipping costs.

Basa

The Mekong Delta region remains in lockdown due to COVID-19. Most Basa factories are closed, with the few remaining in operation at 10-30% production capacity.

Limited supply and increasing costs of production have seen sharp price increases.

In addition, ocean freight stands at an all-time high with increasing difficulty in securing space on containers. As a result, prices are predicted to remain high until the end of the year.

Government restrictions imposed due to the pandemic will see continuing supply shortages until the situation improves.

Flathead

South American Flathead

Supply of imported Flathead has waned due to the boats in the South American fishery moving south, fishing the more expensive and higher demand red prawn.

As they have returned only recently, the likelihood of flathead in plentiful supply could be in doubt until later in the year.

Owing to the ongoing high demand, coupled with the performance of the USD, upward pressure on pricing is expected.

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.

Prices of held stocks have increased with existing shell stock now shipping to China at vastly higher prices.

Last quotes for the Australian market from this fishery were also very high.

China

Prices of Chinese roe-on scallops continue to increase and are now at higher levels than last updated.

As sales increase into summer it is expected to see ongoing supply shortages with
many importers.

Canadian - frozen at sea

The north Canadian fishery has secured up to 67% of quota with full expectation of having their total quota harvested in 2021.

The sizes being landed continue to be slightly larger than last year. Very strong demand in all markets continues, especially on the larger sizes.

It is anticipated that demand and prices will continue to be very firm through to the end of the year.

Local - Queensland

The scallop season has finished and the November 2021 opening has been postponed to 20 January 2022. When reopening, the fishing will be limited to a small area near Frazer Island.

This will lead to very limited supply and continued price increases.

Remaining 2021 stock is limited and prices for all grades have increased.

Canadian Lobster

The northern summer/autumn fishery has been only moderately successful with landings coming in lower than expected.

Raw material prices are still quite high and this is keeping all finished product prices at high levels as the live trade continues to be the main driver.

Processed product inventory is quite low and items like tails and meat are very difficult
to get.

There is an anticipation that the live trade will decline in the autumn which could allow for some more lobster to be processed, helping inventory and pricing.

Florida Lobster

The season in the Florida Keys got off to a good start with reasonable landings and high beach prices as exporters prepared for live sales into China.

A severe shortage of whole cooked into Europe and strong frozen demand from China took the Australian market by surprise.

Western Australia Lobster

Western Australian Lobster production during winter saw some good daily volumes continue at relatively fair beach prices which is hoped will relieve some of the expected fishing pressure of the December Whites run.

Even with the continuing China/Australian dispute, most production until now has still been able to find movement via various export channels (albeit at lower pricing).

The percentage directed to local markets was considered balanced although it is reported as still somewhat short of spring market capacity.

With a shortage of imported whole frozen and tails in the market, and increased frozen production capacity by West Australian processors, there should be even more local product sales opportunities in the market this summer.

Prawns

Imported

Thailand whole cooked

Seacrest’s whole cooked Vannamei prawns are produced in the south of Thailand. Due to COVID-19 there have been strict controls implemented to ensure worker safety. Due to a fear of contracting COVID-19 many workers have chosen not to work, further limiting production capacity.

Along with increased shipping costs, this will result in lower volumes and higher pricing of Vannamei prawns being exported this summer.

It is strongly recommended to secure stock for Christmas and New Year early.

Raw prawn cutlets/meat

Prawn prices continue to increase in all major producing countries.

The majority have been severely impacted by COVID-19. Vietnam, India, Thailand and Indonesia have all been very hard-hit by the newer more virulent strains.

Vietnam is a major supplier to Australia and initially avoided COVID-19 issues. Due to the impacts of the Delta variant there has been major outbreaks , with smaller processing facilities forced to close with some of the major producers operating at only 20% capacity.

As a result, many independent farmers have not rushed to restock their ponds for the second harvest in November. This has added to the upward pressure on pricing.

As Europe opens up from COVID-19 lockdowns, demand has sharply increased.

It isn’t expected to see any relief in the pricing until after Lunar New Year with any hope of good buying opportunities not expected until May-June 2022.

Local

East Coast and Torres Straight Tigers and Kings

East Coast Tiger Prawn catches remain at low levels, inventories are limited with little or no prawns being cooked. Prices remain high.

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.

Bugs

Local Queensland

The bug season south of Mackay will be closed until 20 November. Bug catches from November will remain low due to the closure of the scallop fishery.

New Zealand fish supply

Hoki

Hoki season is officially over in New Zealand with good quality fish stocks from the West Coast fishing ground secured via the new quota shelving which took place this season.

Smooth Dory

The season has recently started with new season fillets available by late October.

New Zealand mussels

Production of new season mussels will commence shortly. Early indications are positive for quality and yield with a steady amount of raw material available.

Demand continues to be strong with pricing expected to firm.

New Zealand oysters

Rainfall continues to impact harvesting in the New Zealand oyster fisheries, reducing production capacity by around 30%.

There is a good size mix in the batches harvested, though the expected weather improvement did not occur to the level anticipated leaving production lagging.

Demand remains strong across all markets, but supply to export markets continues to be slow due to ongoing global shipping issues with space availability and rising costs.

Squid

Argentina Illex

Catches of Illex have been good with prices softening from recent highs.

However, the market for Illex in Australia has waned as buyers have been purchasing Japan Common Squid, Gigas and New Zealand Squid.

New Zealand Arrow

The season for New Zealand Arrow is now over with stocks remaining in cold storage awaiting shipment to China, Australia and Europe.

The increased freight costs, some more than over double that of last year, are causing huge issues for future pricing of the value-added products.

Japan Common (Todarodes)

Due to hot summers experienced in far east Russia, China and Japan there is an expectation that the main squid biomass will be in areas further north.

As expected, size produced from initial catches has been quite small.

Gigas

All of the smaller grades have seen a slight price increase. Catches of the larger grades are going very well in the inshore waters of Peru.

Sales have increased due to growing supply and reduced pricing.

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Potatoes

Market developments according to World Potato Markets:

Fry imports to Australia reached their highest level for the past year, hitting 12,190 tones.

Continental Europe

The drought has damaged yields in North America, while a mixture of unpredictable cold, rain, heat and lack of sunshine means that while European yields are average, at best there are a variety of quality problems that will damage overall performance and the storability of potatoes. Physical European free-buy prices are coming under pressure as more stocks come onto the market. Growers with vulnerable potatoes will want to offload them as soon as they can so further declines throughout the lifting season can be expected. Growers who have quality stocks will be expecting premiums as the season progresses.
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Wheat

Market developments according to Mauri ANZ:

Domestic

The Bureau forecast eastern Australian October rainfall to be well above average and November slightly above average.

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Global

Reduced US export loading capability (from the hurricane) reduced demand for US grain which precipitated managed fund selling of futures, along with no fresh news input. Managed funds are estimated to have switched from a modest long to a small, short futures position.

The monthly USDA global supply and demand report held no surprises for wheat. The Argentine crop benefited from timely rains. The Australian Government forecaster (ABARES) increased their Australian crop forecast to 32MMT, just 2% shy of last year’s record.

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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 increased 6.6% on a litre basis (up 7.3% on milk solids basis) compared to this time last year but represents low volumes overall this early in the season.

Australia

Lower head numbers, farm exits and labour shortages observed throughout last season are expected to continue into the new season.

Dairy Australia is forecasting milk production of 0% to 2% for the 2021/22 season.

USA

US milk production increased by 2.1%, compared to the same period last year. Production continued to improve year on year but was impacted by extreme temperatures across some regions and declining herd sizes due to high feed costs.

Asia

Imports for the last 12 months were up 3.5%, or 172,064 MT, compared to the same period last year. This was driven by large volumes of SMP, fluid milk products, cheese and lactose.

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. (2020). Professional Prespective.
The latest insites in global dairy markets, 1-13.

World Potato Markets. (2021). Agri Markets Limited, 1-18.