… but finished lamb struggling

4 August 2000

… but finished lamb struggling

FINISHED lamb prices took a sharp dive at the end of last week as pressure on export markets filtered back to suppliers.

Having started last week at 85p/kg, the new season SQQ edged back consistently by about 1.5p/day to close Fridays trade at 76.5p/kg. But the weekend did little to stop the decline and Monday saw a further 3p/kg fall.

Seasonal declines must be expected, says Lesley Green of the Meat & Livestock Commission. The current price is very similar to the same week last year, although lamb marketings are down by about 1% for the months of June and July.

"A lot can be attributed to the weakness in the French market at the moment," says Mrs Green. Local supplies are being traded on the main wholesale markets in France at roughly £2.43p/kg deadweight against British supplies at £1.86p/kg. But despite the price differential patriotism is seeing the French consumer stay loyal.

Not for the first time, currency is also playing its part. Irish supplies are competing strongly having the advantage of being linked in with the k.

The MLC has added its voice to those organisations which have aired concern to farms minister Nick Brown over the strength of the pound on exports.

Auctioneers were quick to spot the overseas market has slipped. "The shipping trade has gone quiet all of a sudden and just shows how dependant we are on exports," reports auctioneers McCartneys from Mondays sale at Ludlow.

On the domestic front prospects do not look any brighter with the most recent consumption figures showing a slight decline in the uptake of lamb.

However, MLC is about to launch the joint beef and lamb campaign later this month which it hopes will encourage younger people, in particular, to view lamb as a quick and convenient meal option. &#42

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