Lamb prices begin to stabilise amid uncertainty

Uncertaintity of demand is causing a “boom and bust” trend in the lamb market causing volatile prices.

Lamb prices appear to be stabilising, with liveweight prices standing at 169.7p/kg, a 4.7p/kg increase on last week, reported beef and lamb levy board, Eblex. This comes after concerns from meat promotion bodies of “cooling prices” last month. However according to Eblex, prices are still historically high when compared with previous years: “Overall supplies are still expected to be in line with post 2010 levels and are relatively tight when compared with historic volume,” Eblex published in its Sheep Outlook report.

According to Paul Heyhoe, senior analyst at Eblex, the lamb prices are being affected by a “boom and bust” trend, caused by uncertainty of demand. The uncertainty within the market is being caused by seasonal fluctuations such as hot weather decreasing demand for lamb, especially roasting joints. This is expected to level off as the lamb season comes to a close.

This was also echoed by Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), the meat promotion body for Wales: “With strong supplies and constant demand, prices are reacting. With the summer normally a quieter period for lamb consumption, the current spell of fine weather could be eroding demand further, as some consumers opt for lighter meals. In addition, with sterling continuing to strengthen, tougher conditions in export markets may have an impact,” explained HCC Industry Information Executive John Richards.

Heyhoe was optimistic looking towards the end of the season: “The fact prices have stabilised at this level is positive. Will we need to see at factors such as how much grass got left but if there is a nice orderly market of lambs from now on should remain fairly solid.”

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