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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

06 July 2015

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 6 July 2015AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 6 July 2015

Further price falls seen in UK lamb prices

Both liveweight and deadweight lamb prices have been falling in the past week, despite numbers coming to market in the last seven days falling for the second week in a row.

The liveweight price of lamb has continued to experience sharp declines in the latest week, meaning prices have now been falling for three consecutive weeks. This comes despite numbers of lambs being sold at GB markets continuing to decline. In the week ended 1 July the NSL SQQ fell by over 14p on the week to 156.6p/kg. Prices are now almost 50p behind levels in the same week in 2014. However, falls have slowed slightly in recent days, with the daily average price on Wednesday 1 July standing at 157.9p/kg, only 2p lower than a week earlier. The weakness of the euro is continuing due to the on-going Greek crisis and is still putting prices under pressure.

Numbers of lambs coming to UK markets continued to decline, for the second week in a row, as low prices and hot weather put producers off marketing lambs. Numbers were back 13% on the week, which meant that they were more than a quarter below 2014 levels for the same week.

Prices on the deadweight market began to reflect the trends seen recently in the liveweight trade with sharp falls. In the week ended 27 June prices dropped by 27p to 384.9p/kg, meaning deadweight prices are at their lowest level for this time of year since 2010. However, sharper falls seen in the deadweight market last year mean that the difference between the two years has decreased to 84p, the lowest gap since April.

Cattle prices continue their march upwards

For the week ended 27 June, deadweight cattle prices continued to increase, as the all prime average increased by a further 5p to 343.1p/kg.

All types of prime cattle saw prices increase by between 5p and 7p per kg, depending on specification. For steers and heifers, those meeting the R4L standard seeing the largest increases, of 6p for steers, to 353.6p/kg, and 7p for heifers, taking them to 352.8p/kg. This is the first time that these prices have been above 350p since mid-April. Demand for young bulls appears to be quite robust as the differential between the prices for them and for steers and heifers has narrowed in recent weeks. Again, those meeting the R3 specification increased the most in the latest week, rising 7p to stand at 337.8p/kg. The gains in the latest week mean that the average young bull price of 331.9p/kg is at its highest level since the New Year.

While weekly supplies of young bulls are up by more than 1,500 head, compared to typical levels two months earlier, they are still below last year’s levels. Supplies of steers and heifers, however, continue to tighten, with estimated throughputs at their lowest level this year outside Bank Holiday weeks. These price increases come at a time when processors are finding it more challenging to source supplies and there are indications that the supply situation is likely to remain tight. The recent developments in Greece, though, have resulted in some further weakening of the euro which continues to make imports competitively priced.

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