Winter price collapse fears Exports of sheepmeat from British processors, probably led by Kepak in Scotland, were believed to be under way as The Grocer went to press. Lamb prices have been rising following the lifting of the FDM export ban and the more recent relaxation of controls. However, talk in the trade is of a probable sharp fall in prices after Christmas, and possibly an earlier collapse. By mid November the average deadweight price was higher than a year earlier, having been well below the 2000 level through much of the FMD crisis despite the greatly reduced national kill roughly offsetting the export ban. Processor demand to service overseas business would have been the logical cause of rising prices, but market analysts are worried by the supply side developments. New obstacles to exports including tougher requirements for anti-BSE trimming imposed by the French appear certain to slow resumption of trade. Given this unexpected constraint on the processors, why has the price risen so sharply? Because producers have held back stock, according to the MLC. The farmers appear to have succeeded in their attempt to drive the processors' bids higher, but the fear now is of a sudden flood of lambs into the abattoirs as the producers try to exploit the limited export demand before the stock lose condition. And even if the high quality lambs do not trigger a price collapse, there remains the possibility of a post-Christmas hogget market shakeout {{MEAT }}

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