AUSTRALIA is still on track for a record year of lamb exports to the United States, despite fewer shipments in the past two months and high cold store inventories.
The Steiner Consulting Group’s monthly US Lamb Market Update for Meat & Livestock Australia said estimated US lamb and mutton cold store inventories at the end of October were 25 percent higher than year-ago levels.
Leading causes were listed as high prices, increased domestic production, increased imports and competition from other proteins.
However, the report said the decline in supplies available from Australia and New Zealand, strong foodservice demand and the seasonal improvement in retail business continued to drive prices higher.
“Those end users that were able to secure inventory earlier in the year now have a very strong competitive edge as supplies in the spot market are particularly tight.
“The price of Australian lamb racks has surged higher in recent weeks and fresh/chilled racks are now around US$12 per pound (A$33.28/kg), 34pc higher than a year ago,” the report said.
According to USDA, imports of Australian lamb in the four weeks ending 17 November averaged 838 tonnes/week, 21pc lower than the same four week period a year ago. Imports of New Zealand lamb during this period averaged 334 tonnes per week, 3pc lower than last year.
The Steiner report said lamb shipments from Australia trended lower in October and early November due to the freezer inventories and lower domestic prices limiting volumes. Demand stemming from other markets has also diverted Australian product away from the US in recent months.
The recent decline in shipped volumes from Australia and NZ, combined with strong foodservice demand and the seasonal improvement in retail business have added support to imported lamb prices, the report said.
Click here to see details on the US lamb and mutton cold storage stocks.
Click here to read the full monthly US Lamb Market Update.