AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly
11 May 2015
Lamb prices stabilise following falls
Following a sustained period of decline, old season lamb prices at GB auction markets appear to have stabilised somewhat in the latest week. In week ended 6 May the OSL SQQ increased a penny on the week earlier to average 176.86p/kg. Despite this, it still meant prices were around 25p below levels seen in the corresponding week last year. However, this is a smaller difference than in some of the previous few weeks. This stability in the trade could be down to a tightening of supplies due to the shorter week following the bank holiday. This resulted in the numbers of old season lambs marketed in the week being down 23% on the previous week. To some extent this would be expected anyhow with throughputs starting to tail off as we head towards the seasonal switchover.
The number of new season lambs coming forward continues to increase as the season gets up and running. Following the sharp falls of recent weeks, the price of new season lambs held up relatively well. In week ended 6 May the NSL SQQ was back less than a penny to average 206.48p/kg, although recent daily averages have actually shown a marginal increases. Despite this relative stability, this leaves the NSL SQQ down by almost 35p, compared to the same period in 2014.
Following the sharp falls in the liveweight market in previous weeks deadweight lamb prices took a heavy hit in week ended 2 May. The OSL SQQ was back 30p on the previous week at 378.1p/kg while the NSL SQQ came back over 50p to average 441.8p/kg.
Lamb performs well at Easter
With Easter falling earlier this year than last year it came as no surprise that data from Kantar Worldpanel indicated that lamb performed well in the three months to 29 March. A double digit increase in sales volumes filtered through to a 2% increase in overall spending. This reflected both the greater availability of product on the shelf and the prevalence of promotions by the major retailers. In addition, switching from fresh pork was also a factor in more shoppers buying lamb.
Lamb chops and steaks were the only cut to have underperformed year on year, in both volume and value terms. Only one of the Big 4 retailers was able to maintain its volume sales, while the other three all recorded a drop in sales. In contrast, this cut did well at the hard discounters, aided by lower average prices than the same three month period a year ago.
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