AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly
27 July 2015
Downward pressure continues on the lamb trade
Despite a fall in the number of lambs coming forward, the liveweight lamb trade at GB auction marts is still under pressure.
In week ended 22 July the NSL SQQ was down by over 6p on the week at 151.0p/kg. The weakness of the euro persists, limiting returns that can be gained from exports, while demand continues to be sluggish. This leaves prices almost 27p/kg below levels seen last year and at the lowest level for this time of year since 2009. Downwards pressure on the trade intensified as the week progressed, with the SQQ falling below 150p/kg on Wednesday 22 July at 146.1p/kg, down almost 8p on the week.
This drop came despite a fall in the number of lambs marketed in the week, falling by 12% on the week earlier. Possibly the falls in the trade seen in previous weeks have put producers off bringing lambs to market as numbers were back 11% on the year. The percentage of lambs falling outside of the SQQ continues to be up on the year, with 14% of the lambs sold in the last week falling outside of the SQQ band compared to just 8% at the same time last year. This suggests producers could be holding on for higher prices, causing weights to increase, pushing lambs outside of the premium price range.
Deadweight prices were also down in the week ended 18 July but falls continued to be on a smaller scale than the liveweight trade. The deadweight SQQ fell by less than 2p to 345p/kg as the difference compared to last year continued to narrow to less than 50p following sharper falls in the equivalent week in 2014. This is the lowest price since February 2013 and the lowest level seen in July since 2009.
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