Lamb exports need weaker Pound, says MLC


By FWi staff

LAMB exports would be helped if Sterling fell, the Meat and Livestock Commission told deleghates to its Outlook 99 conference today (Friday).

A £1 million MLC campaign will be launched in February, with advertising and promotions in supermarkets and butchers shops aimed at boosting the consumption of British lamb.

But MLC senior economic analyst Lesley Green warned that lamb-sector costs will remain high and, with the collapse of the Russian economy, new markets for sheepskins will have to be found.

The lamb market is expected to face problems during the year with production levels up significantly on 1998, said Ms Green.

“We must be aware that in all areas of the global economy volatility and uncertainty have increased, seeking potential alternative markets for sheepskins will be important,” she said.

The latest forecasts assume the breeding flock, in December, had increased by a further 3% to 20.5 million head.

Given this rise in ewe numbers the lamb crop is forecast to be up again this year.

And assuming some decline in the value of Sterling this year, a modest increase in exports is forecast, said Ms Green. “”But this still leaves them below those of 1996,” she told the conference.

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