THE sharp lift to young cattle prices has flattened as buyers seem reluctant to push the market past 600 cents a kilogram (carcase weight).
For at least the past fortnight the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) has been hovering around the 590c/kg to 595c/kg mark.
But on Tuesday night it slumped to 579c/kg, which was about 16c/kg cheaper than last week.
The market slip brought all individual sale averages for EYCI-type cattle below 600c/kg.
Carcoar's result was a standout falling nearly 50c/kg (to 571c/kg), while Wodonga took a 35c/kg hit (to 568c/kg).
These falls bring the market back to the same level it was a month ago which is still historically very high for this time of year.
When compared to this time last year, young cattle prices are still 210c/kg dearer.
Analysts continue to say the strength of the market has been driven by export demand and that's been confirmed by the release of the September beef and veal export figures by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on Tuesday.
The figures show that year-to-date exports hit 974,622 tonnes (shipped weight), which was about 38,400t more than at the same time last year.
Even so, when comparing September 2015 with the corresponding month last year, exports were lower by about 17,000t.
All up during the past month, Australia shipped 101,616t of beef and veal.
Year-to-date the US has taken almost 340,000t (up 65,287t on the same period last year), South Korea took 119,133t (up 9655t), China imported 106,595t (up 9638t), while Japan took 211,998t which was back about 185t.
The steady Japanese demand has been a trend for much of this year but Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) were hopeful the market would turn next year.
A recent press release from MLA said the Australian red meat and livestock sectors would benefit from improved market access arrangements following the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations announced by Trade Ministers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam on Monday night.
Under the TPP, the tariffs levied on Australian beef entering Japan will be further reduced from those negotiated under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA).
MLA said the tariff on both frozen and chilled beef would fall to 9pc over 15 years - as opposed to the end point of 19.5pc for frozen beef and 23.5pc for chilled beef secured under the JAEPA.
All TPP members supplying beef to Japan will be similarly advantaged by these TPP tariff cuts.
A global beef safeguard provision will apply to this trade.
In addition, processed red meat import tariffs applied by Japan, which currently range from six to 50pc, will be eliminated within 15 years; the majority of offal tariffs eliminated within 10 to 15 years; and the tariffs applied to live cattle imports will also be eliminated.