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Commodity Prices

Volume 205: debated on Friday 6 March 1992

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the prices, in £ per tonne, in the United Kingdom for the main agricultural commodities for the latest available date.

United Kingdom market prices for the main agricultural commodities are set out in the table.

Selected average market/wholesale prices United Kingdom Prices are for week ending 29 February 1992 unless otherwise stated
Wheat (Grower to merchant price, all purchases, England and Wales)1128
Barley (Grower to merchant price, all purchases, England and Wales)1120
Sugar (Refined bulk granulated)605
Butter (GB salted)2,066
Liquid Milk1174
Cheddar Cheese (English mild white creamery)2,430
Fat Cattle (GB all clean cattle, liveweight)11,063
Fat Sheep (Estimated dressed carcase weight)2,154
Fat Pigs (All pigs, deadweight)1,217
Poultry Meat (Broilers, liveweight)556
Eggs (Size 3, packer to producer price)493
Potatoes (Maincrop)98
1 W/e 20 February: prices are inclusive of co-responsibility levy.
2 Provisional average price for the month of January.
3 W/e 22 February.

Note: A wide range of price quotations exists for individual

commodities depending on quality, presentation, stage of marketing etc. Those shown arc intended to be illustrative of prices paid by wholesalers or received by producers. Some prices are highly seasonal.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the latest figures available for (a) the levies applicable in the United Kingdom and (b) the notional world prices for the main traded agricultural commodities in £ per tonne.

The concept of "notional world prices", as represented by the lowest offer prices underlying the Commission's calculations of variable import levies, is misleading. Such prices reflect, among other things, the particular level of supplies on the residual international market encouraged by agricultural support policies pursued throughout the world. They cannot be viewed independently of existing support policies. If support policies did not exist, I would expect "world prices" to be higher. Subject to these important qualifications, "lowest offer prices" are shown in the table, together with the information requested on import levies.

Levy applicable in the United Kingdom and "lowest offer price"1on 5 March 1992 for the main traded agricultural commodities
Levy2applicable in United Kingdom £ per tonne"Lowest offer price" £ per tonne
£ per tonne£ per tonne
Common wheat11579
Olive oil578993
Skimmed milk powder924626
Cheese (Cheddar)1,7531,003
Beef and veal51,9881,087
Sheepmeat6 n /an/a
1 "Lowest offer prices" have been calculated by subtracting the levy applicable on 5 March 1992 from the threshold/guide price. The beef price is also adjusted for duty. In the case of pigment, poultrymeat and eggs, the "world" price has been taken as the sluicegate price for the headings defined in 2 below. The resulting estimate has been converted from ecu/t at the appropriate market rate of exchange £0·812568 = 1 ecu.

2 The rates of levy vary for different tariff headings. The rates quoted are: beef and veal—carcase; pigmeat—carcase; poultrymeat—70 per cent. chickens; rice—husked long grain; olive oil—virgin lampante; eggs—in shell.

3 In practice the United Kingdom's imports from third countries are normally covered by the Lome convention and enter the Community levy-free.

4 A special lower rate of levy is applicable to imports of butter

from New Zealand.

5 Most imports of beef from third countries are subject to special arrangements allowing entry at reduced levy rates.

6 Imports of lamb under voluntary restraint arrangements with principal suppliers and related agreements enter free of charge. Any imports outside these arrangements are subject to levies which cannot exceed the 20 per cent. tariff bound in the GATT.