Uncertainty has set in as lamb and sheep prices started to slide late last week.
Buyers and agents predict further erratic markets due in part to an oversupply of lamb and mutton waiting in chillers and freezers for overseas destinations.
The overseas meat markets have been volatile in recent weeks because of ongoing uncertainty and lack of confidence flowing from a backlog of containers stranded at other ports around the world.
One major buyer said it was a day-to-day proposition to how many containers would be available at the docks.
All lamb indicators finished last week in red.
Indicators came under pressure from a burgeoning supply of lambs at most selling centres.
Heavy lamb rates dropped 18 cents a kilogram to close out at 804c/kg carcase weight.
Trade lambs fell 25c/kg to rest at 791c/kg cwt.
Restocking lambs were smashed, losing a massive 47c/kg week-on week to sit at 774c/kg cwt.
Signals out of NSW late last week suggested the market was struggling to find a stable base despite surprisingly good quality and less processor demand.
Prices trends at saleyards in Wagga Wagga, NSW, and Griffith, NSW, were cheaper with a few influences in play.
A surge of supply across key categories meant there was no urgency at the market.
Secondly, buyer participation from both domestic and export buyers was patchy.
The slaughter quality of trade lambs was mixed to outstanding and despite this, strong bidding was a rarity.
A significant price correction occurred across all trade weight categories of $20 a head.
Well-shaped pens of 22-24 kilogram trade lambs hovered about the 780c/kg cwt mark.
Major domestic processor competition has weakened noticeably in the past weeks due to more attractive over-the-hook prices for producers.
Another noticeable trend was weak competition from several major export companies across heavy lamb classes which resulted in rates contracting $20-$25.
A single pen at Wagga Wagga weighing 38kg recorded a top price of $298, with most sales averaging 736c/kg cwt.
Competition at Ballarat on Tuesday was softer and showed cheaper trends.
Meat & Livestock Australia's National Livestock Reporting Service said the best-quality pens of lambs suiting supermarket orders sold to fluctuating demand, with shorter-skinned types keenly sought.
The bulk of the trade lambs averaged 730-798c/kg cwt.
A pen of extra heavy lambs weighing an estimated 40kg topped the market at $300.
Most of the lambs weighing 30kg or more made from $223-$295, averaging 760-790c/kg cwt.
Below this there was a lot of sales $209-$242 to average 760c/kg cwt.
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