UK lamb exports drop back during April

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

By Charlie Reeve

As of January 2021 data, the way HMRC collects trade data has changed, which will be reflected in the trade statistics. Comparisons between this and historic data should be treated with caution, and may well be subject to future revisions.

Total UK sheepmeat exports amounted to 5,250 tonnes during April, with exports to the EU accounting for 87% of this. Total exports were down by 18% (1,100 tonnes) compared to year earlier levels, and down by 14% (860 tonnes) on the previous month.

This reduction in the export trade is likely to derive from a combination of factors including high GB lamb prices reducing competitiveness in the EU and lower demand for European foodservice sector. There were also tighter supplies of lamb available for export and continuing increased trade friction with the EU.

This reduction overall was due to a decline in exports to the EU, to 4,600 tonnes. Volumes dropped back both on the previous month (-800 tonnes) and on the same month last year (-1,100 tonnes).


During the first four months of 2021, 17,200 tonnes of sheep meat has been sent from the UK to the EU, this is 25% less (-5,600 tonnes) than during the same time period in 2020.

Looking at global sheep prices, it’s clear to see GB farmgate prices have been high throughout the first few months of 2021, closing the gap between GB prices and French prices. This will be limiting some of the export demand from the continent as GB prices are less competitive at present.

Sign up for regular updates

You can subscribe to receive Beef and Lamb market news straight to your inbox. Simply fill in your contact details on our online form.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.