Currency markets are sending worrying signals both to the British meat trade and to its overseas suppliers. Early in the week sterling softened surprisingly. Less widely noticed was a further strengthening of the New Zealand dollar. A few months ago £1 would buy nearly NZ$3.50, but by midweek it was close to NZ$3.30. Any further appreciation, especially if accompanied by a strengthening of the Australian dollar, would send ripples through the lamb market. Sheepmeat exporters in both New Zealand and Australia have recently been paying extraordinary prices for lambs but problems in their production systems together with the disturbance in the UK due to FMD are causing increasing unease among importers. However, the real puzzle is the US dollar. Currency market opinion is split over whether it will stay strong or suddenly skid; a slide would help all UK buyers of imported meat, as the American dollar indirectly influences EU pigmeat prices as well as directly determining the value of most third country beef. {{M/E MEAT }}