[11 March/The Country]

Good demand is continuing to occur from the United States and China, contributing to predictions a second season of healthy global lamb prices. Nathan Penny, ASB Senior Rural Economist reported that prices are now bottoming out although at around $7 which is a healthy level, after hitting record highs last spring. Looking ahead Mr Penny expects prices to peak in Spring 2019 in the high $7 per kg range. Demand remains strong from the US and firm in China, however Mr Penny says they will keep an eye on Chinese demands after Beijing recently dropped its GDP growth target to a 30 year low. The overall ASB commodity price index, in US dollar terms, ended the first week of March up 0.5 percent. This gain was led by dairy prices rising 2.6 percent, sheep and beef prices were down 1.7 percent, forestry rose 0.2 percent and fruit was down 1.7 percent.