Growth, inflation and labour market all easing
The Australian lamb industry has enjoyed broadly favourable conditions of late, and we remain upbeat in our assessment of the industry.
The Australian lamb industry has enjoyed broadly favourable conditions of late, and we remain upbeat in our assessment of the industry. Mutton and live sheep has seen somewhat more volatility in export markets and we expect a pull-back in mutton exports with the need to replenish flocks following dry conditions in parts of the country last season.
We see lamb and mutton production falling more than 5% in 2016-17, driven predominantly by a fall in mutton with lamb remaining much more stable.
We expect stable to moderately higher prices into next year, continuing a good run since 2013, although the spring lamb flush will as usual see prices fall over the coming months. We place lamb prices at 0.1% higher in 2016-17. Overall, we expect the value of lamb and mutton exports to fall 7.6% in 2016-17, reflecting lower volume.
Export markets for lamb are reasonably diversified, with the US and China accounting for a substantial volume. However, the Middle East remains a very important market, particularly for mutton and live sheep. Steep falls in global oil prices since 2014 has placed pressure on some economies in the region. Offsetting this is the return of previously embargoed Iran to the global lamb and sheep meat market.
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