Buyers take a breather

A reduction in lamb yarding this week along the East coast was met with broadly softer saleyard prices suggesting that buyers took a bit of a spell. The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator off a fraction, down 4¢ (or 0.6% lower) to 666¢/kg cwt. National Mutton a little softer, with sheep throughput holding firm, to see a fall of 11¢ (a 2.1% decline) to close at 511¢.

East coast lamb throughput dropping 15.9% on the week to register just over 157,000 head at the saleyard. Although yarding levels remain above levels recorded at this time last season and well clear of the five-year average so with that in mind prices remain at fairly good levels – figure 1.

Marginally softer moves for mutton in SA, Victoria and NSW as both sheep throughput and slaughter along the East coast trekked sideways – figure 2. In contrast WA mutton dragging down the national figures with a 10.2% fall to close at 441¢/kg cwt. Interestingly, Victorian lamb slaughter remaining persistently high for this time in the season (figure 3) suggesting Southern processors are getting their fill despite the relatively high prices.

The week ahead

A fairly dry forecast for the week ahead will limit price moves to the topside, while the looming winter tightening in supply and firm export demand should keep prices supported on any dips. The most likely scenario in the coming week is for continued price consolidation at these levels.