The UK chilled market remains firm and our focus is still on completing present commitments for sea and air. Frozen is steady for all items, with some pressure on legs as the market reacts to the expected increased New Zealand production. Demand for all cuts remains firm in Europe.
North America is firm for both chilled and frozen, with the market continuing to remain short in most product lines.
Chinese demand is also firm for most items with some minor pressure on flaps as in-market stocks build.
Challenges in the Middle East continue but interest is improving as the market is carrying limited stocks and will need to be replenished.
Markets remain strong globally with strong demand for all items.
The game season for chilled air is virtually over in Europe, with negotiations now underway for frozen cuts. The North American market remains firm for all items, and retail programmes are continuing in the UK – with improved Farm Assured numbers required to grow this business. Additional revenues received for both bone and trim products have assisted overall returns.
Chinese trade for arrival pre-Chinese New Year has been solid and prices have been firm. However, the interest levels for post-Chinese New Year are not as strong.
US trade has been weaker following Thanksgiving. The general trend has been downward at a time when offer volumes from New Zealand and Australia are increasing. Good supplies of lower priced South American beef are making New Zealand beef less competitive at present.
Domestic New Zealand chilled trade remains buoyant however, retailers are struggling with the firmer prices on both New Zealand lamb and beef as the NZD weakens and export returns look more favourable.
Wool is seeing stronger interest and price improvements. Tallow prices increased while protein meals remain unchanged. There has been no change around skins/hides. China remains the number one destination for lamb skins and number two for cattle hides.