Red to the east, green to the west

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Author: Olivia Agar

Eastern lamb markets continued to ease this week, with even restockers pulling back. However, It was a different story in the West where fairly widespread rain provided a boost of confidence and prices for all categories of lamb and sheep strengthened.

East Coast lamb yardings responded to the slightly weaker prices of recent times by falling 5%. Throughput in Victoria and WA held steady but all other states saw a week-on-week decline.

Lamb slaughter numbers were slightly lower, dropping 2% to see 305,154 head processed for the week ending the 26th of January.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator lost 13¢ on the week to end at 835¢/kg cwt. In WA, trade lambs picked up an extra 14¢ to sit at 710¢/kg cwt. The trade lamb discount in WA to the ESTLI is currently at 17%, which is an improvement on the 28%  discount at this same time last year.

Light, Merino and Restocker lambs in WA came out on top this week, each gaining 65 to 90¢. In most eastern states these categories lost around 25 to 30¢ on the week.

Mutton markets showed strength this week, the National Mutton Indicator gained 7¢, to 638¢, but it was South Australia where demand really took off, with mutton prices gaining 42¢ to 630¢/kg cwt. The National Mutton Indicator is currently 45¢ lower than this time last year and it’s not due to higher supply.

The week in lamb & sheep
BOM weather chart

The week ahead

The two week rainfall forecast by the BOM is looking very wet indeed. Nearly all of the country is looking at a 50% or greater chance of receiving above median rainfall. This (if it comes to fruition), along with the weaker eastern market, will likely put a halt on any substantial increase in supply.