New Zealand lamb prices are at their highest point ever.

Heather Stacy, general manager livestock and shareholder services at Alliance Group - New Zealand's biggest sheepmeat exporter - said the co-op has a minimum price starting in September of $8.20, which is the highest price its ever paid.

Stacy expected prices to pull back after the traditional Christmas "chill" period - when chilled meat is sent off to northern markets and frozen starts to enter the product mix.

"It's fair to say that prices are starting to top out," she said, adding Alliance was seeing buyer resistance at current elevated levels.


Stacy said sheep farmers had enjoyed 18 months of stability, which was setting them up well for next season.

Next season's lambing percentages were also expected to be high, she said.

ASB, in its latest commodities report, said lamb were strong across key markets and reflected generally healthy global economic growth and demand.

US and EU - excluding the UK - prices were particularly strong.

"EU prices for the season to date sit 22 per cent higher than for the same period a year ago, while US prices are up 19 per cent," the bank said.

These increases compared to the overall 16 per cent in New Zealand lamb export prices.

"Looking ahead to the new season, we are optimistic that prices will remain very healthy, but at the same time we are wary of growing risks," the bank said.

In particular, the escalating US-China trade tensions could derail global economic growth and reduce global lamb demand.


"The other risk is that consumer price resistance can kick in at these record levels," the bank said.