Short weeks & short supply provide a lift

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Disruptions to sales caused by public holidays, typically see buyers bidding up to secure supply and we’ve seen this play out in the last week. After hitting a low a fortnight ago key NLRS saleyard lamb indicators have gradually moved higher.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) gained another 5¢ since last Wednesday (The last report before the public holidays) to finish at 791¢/kg cwt this week.  All eastern states saw trade lamb prices lift. Heavy lambs were a similar story, with the National Indicator rising 8¢ to 771¢/kg cwt.

It was the store lamb market that really took off though. The National Restocker Lamb Indicator is back above 900¢ for the first time in two months. This pushed Restocker lamb prices higher than the same time last year. The National light lamb indicator also jumped, now sitting above 800¢. No doubt the rain that hit central and western Vic, and southern NSW over the past week has put some energy back into the market.

The short week of pre and post easter supply always causes a bit of volatility in reported prices. For the week before Easter, just 76,871 lambs were yarded in the east, which is 54% lower than the week prior. 27,451 sheep were yarded, and with buyers having to battle it out for limited stock, the National Mutton Indicator has lifted 36¢ since last Wednesday to 598¢/kg cwt.

Despite the short working week, slaughter rates remained relatively strong. There was just a 21% drop in lamb slaughter week on week which meant that over 270K lambs were still processed and 57K sheep. In the last four weeks, combined sheep and lamb slaughter was 10% stronger than the same time last year, However, the Easter break being later in the April this year makes a direct comparison more complicated.

The week ahead….

The rainfall forecast for the week ahead looks to be the good news for those few regions still waiting on a solid autumn break. With another short week ahead of us, and processors keen to maximise their capacity there may be some more room for prices to move higher.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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