The UK lamb price continues to gain upward traction, with the latest Agriculture Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) report for the week ending 1 December showing the new-season lamb (NSL) standard quality quotation (SQQ) liveweight price increasing by 7.9p/kg and recorded at £2.77/kg. This is the equivalent of €3.26/kg at 85p to the euro.

When assessed on a daily basis, the rate of week-on-week increase has been higher, with Thursday’s average figure of £2.82/kg increasing by 11p/kg on the week.

Figure 1

As reflected in Figure 1, the price is running some 60p/kg ahead of prices in September and October, with prices continuing to strengthen on the back of reduced domestic throughput, strong market demand and lower sheepmeat imports.

Lower throughput

As demonstrated in Figure 2, sheep throughput is running well below recent years' levels.

Figure 2

The latest AHDB throughput figures show the estimated kill for last week totalling 233,100 head, a reduction of 3% on the previous week and 225 on the corresponding week in 2020.

In addition to lower supplies in the UK market, the AHDB is also pointing to greater export demand stemming from lower supplies of New Zealand sheepmeat in the system.

AHDB red meat analyst Rebecca Wright said: “Prices do usually feel some upwards pressure in the weeks running up to Christmas, as peak kill tails off and demand increases. This year that peak kill didn’t really happen.

"Demand is unlikely to have made any major changes, but the supplies from New Zealand have been suppressed due to COVID-19 and its impact on the shipping industry.

"This is impacting on both the British and European markets. Some industry reports have suggested there has also been a rise in export demand, perhaps due to a lack of New Zealand product.”