[5 August/NZ Herald]

New Zealand lamb prices have reached their highest level ever. General Manager Livestock and Shareholder Services at Alliance Group, Heather Stacy, said the co-operative has a minimum price starting in September of $8.20 which was the highest it had ever paid. She expected prices to pull back after the traditional Christmas period. She added it was fair to say prices were starting to top out. She noted sheep farmers had enjoyed 18 months of stability which would set them up well for next season. Lambing percentages were also expected to be high. ASB said lamb prices were strong across key markets and reflected healthy global growth and demand. It added EU prices were 22 percent higher than they were for the same period last year, and U.S. prices were up 19 percent. This compared to the overall 16 percent increase in New Zealand lamb export prices. ASB noted that they are optimistic for lamb prices but wary of risks such as trade tensions.