21 January 2000

Strong £ damper

MORE EU farmers are looking to purchase direct from collective sales in the UK, but sterlings strength continues to hinder trade.

Paul Claydon of Cheffins Grain & Comins reports an increase in overseas farmers registering at the companys Sutton saleground which is traditionally dominated by dealers. But despite the upsurge, further rises in sterling have dented the potential for sales.

"Many reserves on tractors and machinery had been adjusted to account for the rise in the £s strength, but we may have to look again," says Mr Claydon. At this weeks sale, bids for unsold tractors in the £5000-10,000 bracket were typically 2-4% below reserve values.

"January is usually a slow month. Entries have been good, but even the Dutch say its hard to make a margin..

currency differences now make moving machinery on to the final user difficult to make a margin."