Liveweight prices have been under pressure this week. There was a noticeable uplift in numbers coming forward. Lamb throughputs for the week stood at 129,500. Heads and prices remain 24p higher than the same period last year. Making it 56p higher than the five-year average.
The GB deadweight NSL SQQ declined 1.4p, the quote remains over 70p above year-earlier levels, slaughtering’s at 220,000, which is down 10% on the week and a whopping 27% on the same period last year.
Some industry reports suggest supermarkets are reluctant to push lamb in a bid to ensure their profit margin remains consistent. This is likely to bring pressure to the market. Whilst freight costs remain high, import levels are limited.
The import of sheep meat has been under pressure for some time. Production in New Zealand and Australia have been low compared to historic values.
As global shipping costs remain high, there is also the issue of container availability and with recent demand from Asia rising, there’s no reason to presume a sharp divergence from recent and current levels.
Imports add to balancing the demand in the UK, both in terms of cuts preferred by UK consumers, and the seasonality of supply.
Longer-term volumes need to stabilise for the UK’s continued need for imports to meet the balance against domestic production. This year import volumes are expected to drop by 13%, to 58,000 tonnes. On the export side, the UK shipped in 4,200 tonnes of fresh and frozen sheep meat in June. This is 5% less than a year ago and 12% lower than May.
Volumes from New Zealand are 16% lower, year-on-year, standing at 2,800 tonnes. For the Year-to-date UK sheep meat imports totalled 27,700 tonnes, down 17% on the same period last year.
Future price Indications around imports from New Zealand & Australia remain high, leading to some importers becoming reluctant to purchase the meat at such high price levels.
Lamb pricing is expected to remain firm.