Lamb procurement pricing in field continues to show volatility and our schedule is a reflection of this environment. The UK market remains firm for all cuts with supply fundamentals in line with market demand. Middle cuts are in reasonable demand in Europe leading into Summer but both leg and shoulder products are proving a bit slower to move to market.
In North America, demand remains steady across all product types. In China, prices have moved up but there are concerns these are not in line with in-market levels and some correction is likely going forward.
In the Middle East, frozen remains steady with increased supply from New Zealand continuing to put some degree of uncertainty into the market. There is firm demand for chilled. This is due to supply from Australia reducing as producers take advantage of positive feed conditions to re-stock after many years of drought and capital stock loss.
Markets are aware that New Zealand processing numbers are well advanced. Some good interest remains from China, Malaysia and Mexico.
Prices are holding for all frozen product and more chilled volumes are being offered into key markets.
US prices are holding with a small rise on some items due to shortages in the US spot imported market. Rain issues in New Zealand have slowed kills, keeping supply limited and assisting with price stability. Australian kills also remain well behind last year’s levels but there are drought concerns growing in some regions.
In the US domestic market, 50cl trim has increased in value and prices are now around 20 per cent higher than same period last year. This is not good news for lean beef imports as burger grinders will eventually look to offset higher domestic levels with lower values on imported beef.
China continues to dominate global beef imports with prices holding relatively steady although some items such as chuck and shanks are under some pressure from competitively priced South American beef. Chilled prices on the domestic market have eased slightly.
Wool-on-skin collection continues to dominate the lamb market while pickled sheep pelts are still proving difficult to market at reasonable prices. There is improved demand for wool. Prices have picked up 30 to 40 ckg on some lines but remain well below prices from a year ago. There is reasonable demand for hides. Some improved prices for casings are being recorded from Europe but US and Japan remain in difficult trading positions.