What's the latest on global cattle and sheep prices?

Thursday, 23 September 2021


For the most part, cattle prices around the world have continued to rise over the last few weeks, reflecting lower supplies in key producing nations and strong demand from importers, particularly China and Southeast Asia.

Australian cattle prices have gone from strength to strength, with Meat and Livestock Australia reporting that improved seasonal conditions are adding confidence to the market. Demand is also reportedly strong domestically and overseas, the latter helped by supply constraints in South America.

In South America, the price picture has been more mixed. There are currently bans in place on beef exports from Argentina in an aid to control domestic prices, and more recently, China banned shipments from Brazil due to BSE. Brazilian prices have fallen of late, reflecting increased supplies and weaker industry demand. Close by, prices in Uruguay and Paraguay have continued to strengthen, possibly in response to neighbouring supply situations.

Prices have also increased in the US, fuelled by strong demand domestically and for export (particularly to Asia). Tighter supplies of cattle are also expected to keep prices elevated going forward, as severe droughts across regions of the country during summer have led to increased liquidation of herds.


Prices have also strengthened on the global sheep market. In Australia and New Zealand, deadweight lamb prices are currently around 30% higher than they were at the same point a year ago (in GBP terms). New Zealand lamb prices have been on an upwards trajectory for several months, recovering from the lows in 2020 caused by COVID-19 disrupting international demand. Australian prices continue to be supported by tighter supplies as producers rebuild their flocks following droughts.

Closer to home, European prices have also generally moved higher in recent weeks. Sheep meat production has been lower so far in 2021, and imports have decreased, while exports have been strong from key producers Spain and France. This will be helping keep GB prices supported. Sterling has weakened slightly against the Euro in recent weeks, which will help the competitiveness of domestic product on the continent.

Image of staff member Hannah Clarke

Hannah Clarke

Senior Analyst (Red Meat)

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