Federally inspected slaughter figures for the four-week period ended September 16 showed an average weekly kill of 654,500 which is up on the 630,750 of our last report despite a shorter working week over the Labour Day holiday. These figures are still running at 3.8% above the same time last year.

USDA announced that on August 1 there were 10.882 million cattle on feed, up 7% on the year before.

Export figures over four weeks showed that 829,800 US raw hides were sold to China keeping them in pole position. Previous purchases amounted to 798,000 a month earlier and 1,062,100 in the review period before that.

Hong Kong was in sixth place with 55,300 (96,900) giving them a combined total with China of 884,300 (894,900, which was down from 1,091,900 the month before).

Korea again took second place with 380,600 (301,800) with Taiwan in third place with 148,700 (177,800) and Japan with 74,500 (100,900). Mexico was in fifth place with 66,600 (78,000) followed by Hong Kong.

Thailand purchased 39,800 (39,300), Italy 35,200 (35,400), the Dominican Republic 32,000 (9,600), Vietnam 17,300 (20,500) and Canada 11,800.

Spain bought 6,600 (1,700), Brazil 5,200, Paraguay 3,100 and Croatia 900.

Spain also purchased 34,200 calf and kip, Mexico 4,300 kip, Italy and India 4,100 kip each and Paraguay 3,200 kip.

When it came to wet-blues, Hong Kong was the major customer with 146,900 (84,600) while China slipped into fourth place with 44,800 (80,600).

This gave China and Hong Kong a combined total of 191,700, down from 165,200 the previous month and 237,600 the month before.

The Dominican Republic slipped into second place with 71,500 (17,700). Taiwan was in third place with 47,600 (29,600). Mexico took fifth place with 37,900 (up from 6,400 but down from 119,800 the month before that).

With the exception of Mexico, Hong Kong and the Dominican Republic, all of the other customers stayed out of the market for anything from one to three weeks.

Italy bought a modest 28,100 (34,900) but only traded on two occasions. Korea also only came to the marketplace twice and took 26,400 (62,600) while Germany made a single transaction of 8,900. India bought 7,000 and Indonesia 6,300. Canada bought 3,100, Vietnam 3,000, France 2,100, Thailand 1,800 (12,000) and Japan 1,100 (1,200).

Hong Kong bought 1,554,000lb of wet-blue splits (953,700lb) and Italy 1,047,300lb (4,029,000lb). China also purchased 769,000lb but there was an adjustment of 201,400lb.