Store prices strengthen so far in 2023

Friday, 31 March 2023

In the current climate, with supplies tight, store cattle prices have seen some large price movements, seeing strong support since mid-December.

Store prices have mirrored support seen in deadweight cattle prices over recent months, reflecting renewed confidence in the store market as we move further into spring. But with concerns over future cattle supplies and volatility in the global beef market still prominent, could we see prices remain supported in the coming weeks and months?

Supported store prices have been exemplified by GB Continental (X) stores which have seen sharper year-on-year (YOY) price increases than those of other breed categories, and even finished prices in 2023. Continental (X) cattle prices have remained above year earlier levels, currently (w/e 18 March) 12-14% higher YOY for steers aged between 12 and 24 months, and 22-28% higher for the same group compared to the 5-year average.

Throughputs of 2-year-old steers picked up particularly in early February and were significantly higher compared to the same weeks in 2022 and the 5-year average. On the whole, Continental X throughputs have remained higher YOY (currently between 13% to 25% higher as at w/e 18 March) throughout 2023 across all age groups. The same trends have also been seen in comparisons to the 5-year average, with all categories following seasonal trends as we see greater throughputs of yearlings and 2-year old steers for sale in Spring.

The greatest variation in prices has been seen in yearlings, reflecting trends seen in 2022. However, over the last few weeks deadweight prices have been steadying. With Continental (X) store prices remaining robust, could we see margins squeezed as the discount to finished cattle narrows?

Graph showing the year-on-year change of Continental X stores against deadweight stores

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