Lamb market monthly update: January 2024

Friday, 23 February 2024


The deadweight OSL SQQ measure started the year off strong. Prices in the first week of January started at 615.6p/kg for the week ending 6 Jan, before falling by around 10p in the second week. Prices rebounded slightly in the third week before ending the month with growth of 24p to 631.8p. Our agri-market outlook for 2024 forecasts a smaller carry-over into the 2024 season, providing strength to prices in times of tighter supply.


Fuel prices fell again in January, despite continued conflict in the Middle East, which threatens crude oil prices. Fertiliser prices similarly fell in January, continuing a slight decline. However, fertiliser prices remain historically elevated following the continued Russia-Ukraine war and European energy crisis. Wheat prices are pressured from weak demand and falling export prices in Russia.


January saw a fall in both throughputs and tonnage of sheep meat on December’s levels (which saw extra demand from Christmas) but they remain elevated from 2023. The UK produced 23,200 tonnes of sheep meat in January, a fall of 10% from December. Clean sheep slaughter totalled 984,000 head for January, a decline of 14% from December. There was an extra working day in January 2024 compared with January 2023, which may explain some of the annual increases recorded in monthly sheep production.


Exports of sheep meat in December grew to nearly 10,000 tonnes, with an annual change of +27% and a monthly increase of 20%.

Imports of sheep meat totalled 3,200 tonnes for December, a fall of 25% from November, but growth of 33% compared with 2022. We continue to monitor the levels of imports from Australia and New Zealand as the new quota years are in effect from January.

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