Welcome to the AHDB Beef & Lamb Market news section.

The aim of the Market news section is to share market information and provide greater insight and analysis on market developments and industry issues in the beef and sheep meat sector.

UK trade in beef grows in first quarter

UK imports of fresh/frozen beef were up in the first quarter, to total 69,200 tonnes (+8% year on year). Imports for fresh/frozen beef from Ireland were up 4,000 tonnes (+9%) for the first quarter, accounting for much of the increase overall. However, shipments from the Netherlands, Poland and Germany all decreased slightly and collectively were down over 1000 tonnes (-8%) for the first quarter of…

The producer share of lamb retail prices climbs on upwards

The producer share of retail prices increased significantly for lamb during April. The producer share of the lamb retail price has shot up in the past three months, having gained 17 percentage points since January, and currently stands at 67% which is the highest the producer share for lamb has been in records which go back ten years. This is also 16 percentage points higher…

Deadweight lamb prices gaining

The GB OSL liveweight SQQ remained steady on the previous week, declining by just 1.5p, to 241.14p/kg in the week ending 9 May. The quote is still trending well above year earlier levels. The NSL measure followed a similar trend (-1.3p), to stand at 303.45p/kg. Total throughputs for the week stood at 102,900 head which is a similar number to the same week last year…

EU beef production higher in early 2018

Total EU beef production for the first two months of 2018 was up 4%, to 1.3 million tonnes, compared with the same period 12 months ago. EU-15 production was also up over 3.5% in the first two months of 2018, after falling in 2017, and despite further decreases predicted in 2018 by the European Commission. The four biggest EU producers (France, UK, Germany and Italy)…

Australian beef production forecast revised up

Australian cattle slaughterings have increased by 10% (113,000 head) in the year-to-February, to 1.15 million head, according to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). As a result, the slaughter forecast for 2018 has been increased to 7.48 million head, a 4% increase on the year. So far this year, female slaughterings have increased by 16%. Despite this lift, the overall proportion still remains below the historical…

The beef sector in Japan and South Korea

South Korea has the highest per capita consumption of beef in Asia, while Japan imports the third largest amount of beef in the world. In 2017, Japan imported 573,000 tonnes and South Korea imported 379,000 tonnes. Around half of all beef imported into Japan comes from Australia, although the US has increasingly been competing against Australia in recent years. At the start of August 2017,…

Prime cattle prices follow seasonal trend

In the week ended 5 May 2018, the GB all prime average gained 0.77p on-the-week, to 363.98p/kg. Compared to year earlier levels the measure stands almost 12p higher in this year. It is not unusual for prime cattle prices to rise at this time of year, as demand at retail level increases, and reports suggest that carcase balance is currently good. Due to the recent…

Demand for lamb rising in Asia

In 2017, China was the world’s largest importer of fresh/frozen sheep meat, at 249,000 tonnes. In quarter one of 2018 China imported 89,600 tonnes, 25% more sheep meat than in quarter one of 2017. Japan and South Korea both increased imports significantly on 2016, to 21,700 tonnes and 15,000 tonnes respectively.   Different countries within Asia have different priorities when purchasing meat as well as…

Liveweight lamb trade picks up again

Old season lamb prices at GB auction markets picked up again in the week ended 3 May, with the OSL SQQ up almost 11p on the previous week at 242.59p/kg. As such, the difference compared to year earlier levels opened up again, increasing to over 64p. Looking at prices on a daily basis, the OSL SQQ has been trending above the previous week’s levels for…

New Zealand beef exports production forecast down

New Zealand is now half way through its production year (October-September) and has released its mid-season update. In June 2017, beef cattle numbers for 2017/18 provisionally totalled 3.5 million head, down 2.1% on the previous season, primarily driven by an increase in the number of breeding cows and sucklers. Meanwhile, dairy cattle numbers remained steady on the year, at 6.5 million head. The estimated volume…

Prices for steers and heifers meeting the R4L spec gain

In the week ended 28 April, the GB all prime average cattle price increased by 0.71p on-the-week, to 363.21p/kg. The measure currently stands 14p above year earlier levels. Industry reports suggest that prices are being supported by processors being able to achieve good carcase balance due to a varied customer base. Further reports have suggested that some cattle are coming in slightly over finished. The…

USDA forecasts meat trade growth

The USDA has forecast growth in global beef, pork and poultry trade in 2018. This will be the first time all three categories have grown simultaneously since 2012, with trade in beef growing the most, by 5% year on year. The increase in world beef trade will be driven by a combination of strong global demand, and more competitive prices. Both the US itself, and…