AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly
03 November 2014
Prices strengthen despite increased throughputs
The supply/demand balance was most definitely in producers’ favour this week. Despite a considerable increase in throughputs, the SQQ at GB auction markets still moved up. Reports suggest that domestic retail promotions are going some way in mitigating the challenge offered to export performance on the back of the continued strong value of sterling against the euro. In week ended 29 October, while the number of lambs penned nationally reached somewhere in the region of 135,000, up 13% on the previous week, the liveweight GB NSL SQQ was up 5p to 159.6p/kg. Although the trade started off strongly on Thursday 23 October at 158.2p/kg, prices really strengthened after the weekend, with the SQQ on Monday and Wednesday of this week at 161.0p/kg. The SQQ is now back to the same level it was in late August but it is still down around 13p on the same week in 2013.
Deadweight prices this week have also edged up following relative stability throughout the month so far. The GB NSL averaged 354.9p/kg in week ended 25 October, up 2p on the previous week. UK lamb supplies set to remain plentiful Recently released figures for the UK sheep flock confirm that this year’s lamb crop was larger than in recent years, given a larger breeding flock in December and better seasonal conditions. With all these extra lambs around, it is no surprise that new AHDB/EBLEX forecasts show an increase in lamb slaughterings forthe remainder of this season. Adding further to supplies in the short-term, carcase weights are expected to remain above seasonal norms, as has been the case in recent months. With only small changes expected in the balance of trade, domestic production will be the main driver of supplies on the UK market.
As a result, the amount of sheep meat available for consumption is forecast to rise in 2015 by a similar amount to this year. Irish sheep slaughterings up this season Similar to the United Kingdom, Ireland is reported to have had an excellent lamb crop this season so far. Both slaughterings and production in the May to September period were up 8% year on year. The extent of the increase in the lamb crop is not entirely clear, as the June 2014 census results are surprising in that they show a fall in the number of lambs in the flock. Assuming industry expectations are correct, there should be year-on-year growth in Irish sheep meat exports in the coming months, suggesting on-going competition in the short term with British lamb on export markets.
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