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Insights November 2020

9 November 2020 |Sheep & lambs

Insights November 2020

9 November 2020 |Sheep & lambs
The November update provides an analysis of production and pricing trends for Australian sheep producers.


  • An increase in Victorian lamb supply is expected to drive a steady decline in Australian lamb prices for the remainder of 2020.
  • Lamb prices are expected to remain slightly above 2019 levels as stronger restocker demand is expected to offset the continued year-on-year increase in lamb supply.
  • Mutton prices are expected to remain relatively stable at current high levels, supported by strong demand for tight supplies of sheep.

Australian lamb prices are expected to steadily decline for the remainder of the year, continuing the general downward trend from October. The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) is expected to follow a similar downward trend to 2019 when the ESTLI fell by 8.5 per cent from the start of November to the end of the year.

An expected increase in supply, particularly in Victoria, is the primary driver of the anticipated downward trend in lamb prices. Victorian lamb yardings almost double during November on average, and such a surge in supply is expected to place downward pressure on prices. In addition to a seasonal increase, lamb supply is also expected to continue to trend higher compared to 2019 due to favourable lambing conditions in 2020. The impact a year-on-year increase in supply has on prices will be offset by stronger restocker demand as producers seek to utilise abundant feed supplies which will likely support prices above 2019 levels.

Lamb prices are expected to continue receiving support at high levels from relatively firm export demand. Demand from the United States has underpinned the strength in export markets with the volume of lamb exports for the year to October up 2.7 per cent on 2019. Export volumes to the Middle East and China remain subdued compared to 2019 but have both improved from the downwards trend earlier in 2020.

Australian mutton prices are expected to remain relatively stable for the remainder of 2020 as both restockers seeking breeding stock to rebuild flocks and processors seeking to satisfy export demand will continue to compete for tight supplies of sheep, with average weekly yardings in October down 31.6 per cent year-on-year. Export demand is expected to remain firm for the reduced supply of mutton, underpinned by Chinese demand. Demand from the United States and Malaysia has also been strong and should continue to offer support to prices.

Source: Meat and Livestock Australia

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