Market Update – by Alister King, Lean Meats Marketing Manager
The lamb market continues to show renewed signs of strength as it moves from its post-Xmas supply period into the later than usual Easter supply period.
Chilled supply for the Easter trade is not scheduled to commence until early February, which is later than prior years due to the later Easter in 2014.
China remains the market that under pins many others in terms of pricing structures for lamb and mutton frozen cuts. This has forced many traditional buyers of lamb cuts to agree to pay increased pricing levels or switch to alternative cheaper protein sources.
The one market that has not followed these same trends is Europe. Europe continues to languish in a post-recession mode and lacks the appetite for price increases on the more expensive loin and rack lamb cuts.
Discretionary income is limited resulting in both a slow food service and retail market place. Prices for lamb legs have risen sharply recently ‘spooking’ many in the United Kingdom purchasing trade in particular.
Consequently, the leg market has reached a conundrum with the market anticipating price reductions as New Zealand lamb production volumes increase over the coming months.
From a sellers view point the market is short of product and will remain so. Time will ultimately provide the answer to this typical supply and demand equation. Overall the lamb market is in a positive frame of mind heading into the 2014 calendar year.