USDA Projects Lamb Imports to United States will Decrease in 2005
August 12, 2005
August 12, 2005 -- The U.S Department of Agriculture?s Economic Research Service recently released an outlook report titled Disease-Related Trade Restrictions Shaped Animal Product Markets in 2004 and Stamp Imprints on 2005 Forecasts.
On the trade front, the report mentions the recent ban on lambs from Canada but added that Canada makes up less than 1 percent of U.S. imports, which are restricted to animals less than 1-year-old at slaughter. Regarding the U.S. sheep and lamb inventories, the report states that they have stabilized and even grew somewhat in 2004, which will eventually result in an increased lamb and mutton production.
The report further discusses lamb imports from Australia and New Zealand to the U.S. and states ?much lower than expected first-quarter 2005 imports, about 34 percent below a year earlier, led to a reduction in the import forecast for the year.? Imports for the entire year are forecast at about 177 million pounds, down just more than 2 percent from 2004.
The relative prices of imported lamb related to exchange rates between exporting countries and the United States may have been a factor contributing to the reduced imports.
?The projection of declining imports by the department is significant,? according to Peter Orwick, executive director of the American Sheep Industry Association. ?The exchange rates have influenced some shift of New Zealand product to Europe as of late, but a larger factor is the multi-year low in lamb production in that country. Severe weather in late 2004 during lambing resulted in less lamb production and a shortage of product.?
The report concludes with an overview of the 2004 animal-product market. It states that beef, cattle and poultry trade were directly affected by the changing situations related to disease in 2004 and that the pork, dairy, sheep and lamb markets were indirectly affected by those situations. Last year?s market was also shaped by emerging competitive animal-product suppliers, the prime example being Brazil, and by exchange-rate movements that made U.S. exports more competitive on the international stage. The import and export expectations and forecasts for animal products are expected to adjust as the legal proceedings and regulatory actions are resolved concerning the BSE Minimal-Risk Regions Rule; however the pork, sheep and lamb-trade forecasts will be less influenced by these factors.
Staff contact, Peter Orwick, ext. 33