Untidy late April market remains probable Carryover crisis starts to ease Lamb trading shows signs of the hogget carryover crisis easing, though the conflicting influences of pre-Easter stockbuilding, currency strength and producers' selling tactics have made underlying supply and demand hard to gauge in the past couple of weeks. Kill estimates suggest most of the surplus has already gone through the abattoirs, but an untidy late April market remains probable. Until the middle of last month plants were slaughtering about 60,000 more lambs and hoggets each week than in late winter 1997, an increase of well over 20%. Since then the year-on-year differential appears to have been diminishing. And despite the price retreat since the strange affair of the EU Private Storage Aid scheme, on average at least 5p of the earlier gain has stuck. Looked at in this light the market seems to be sorting itself out, as MLC economists predicted it would.Yet new season lamb prices are also at least 30% weaker than last year, which is hard to reconcile with the theory of the hogget glut as the main cause of the market upheaval. At little more than 120p kg liveweight even for the Easter trade, the latest crop is worth 50p kg less in 1994. A fundamental flaw either in demand or in the offer to buyers is an almost irresistible inference. {{MEAT }}

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