Tuesday, 17 November 2020
Exports of UK fresh/frozen sheep meat fell 22% year on year in September, to 7,600 tonnes. There was a decline in recorded trade with all three of the UK’s biggest export partners, France (-23%), Germany (-27%) and Ireland (-31%). Export prices were 29% higher year on year, reflected in higher domestic farm gate prices. The year to date volume of exports is now 9% lower than last year, at 62,800 tonnes. The value of these exports is however nearly 10% higher at £315m, thanks to the higher prices achieved.
Reported UK sheep meat imports increased in September, by 41% to 4,000 tonnes, compared to the same month last year. Volumes from New Zealand and Australia increased by 57% and 102% respectively, although last year’s volumes were themselves the lowest for some years. It is likely that the strong price margin a few weeks ago drove this trade. We could see increased volumes again in October’s data. Year to date imports are 45,600 tonnes, 7% lower than last year.
Reports suggest that although there have been tighter supplies on the continent in recent weeks, demand for UK carcases may now be softening. This might remove some support for prices. The second national lockdown in France began on 30 October and is due to run until the end of the month. The French foodservice sector is an important market for UK sheep meat and demand is thought to be subdued, as it was earlier in the year.
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