Availability outlook bright An unexpected surge in Australasian fleece values with clamorous demand from export customers at recent sales is interpreted by analysts as the latest in a series of confidence boosts likely to slow or reverse flock contraction especially in New Zealand. Meat New Zealand reports its industry's sheepmeat tonnage shipped to the UK fell only 6.6% in the year to last September 30, far less than assumed when British exports were halted by FMD, and earnings rose 9%. This minimal shrinkage of the UK volume was a bonus, as product diverted to the Continent found keen buyers at very high prices anyway. The result now is a new season lamb price of about £30 per head in New Zealand, extraordinary by local market standards, and the wool return adds to the incentive for flock expansion. {{MEAT }}