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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

29 July 2013

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 26 July 2013EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 26 July 2013

Cattle trade responds to the exceptional weather

In week ended 20 July, at 396.5p/kg the GB all prime cattle indicator was almost 2p back on the week. AHDB/EBLEX estimates suggest that prime cattle slaughterings were back 400 head on the week, and over 6% year on year. However, despite this, the trade appears to have responded to the exceptional weather during the week, with demand for forequarter cuts and steaks firm but for the higher priced parts of the carcase very slow. With fundamentally tight supplies and the recent flush of young bulls appearing to tail off in recent weeks, the supply/demand relationship remains finely balanced going forward.

The cow trade eased on the week, with reports suggesting that increased quantities of cheaper product have become available and the holiday period on the Continent maybe impacting on export demand. However, with the number of cows coming forward back on the year and likely to remain so for the rest of the summer, in particular if grass isn’t so plentiful, the opportunity for prices to be supported still exists.

Firm European cow trade

Throughout 2013 so far cow prices on the continent have remained strong. The EU cow market has been boosted by both lower supplies and increased demand, led mainly by developments in France. France is the largest cow beef market in the EU and from January to May slaughterings were down 10% year on year. This has been coupled with a surge in demand across the EU for cow beef, thought to be due to consumers trading down to cheaper cuts such as mince on the back of a squeeze on consumer budgets. Over the first half of 2013, prices increased 10% in France, with a similar trend observed in Germany and the UK. In contrast, in Ireland, despite a steady increase in price since the turn of the year, prices eased throughout June. This may be owing to some surplus supply due to a 14% year-onyear increase in cow slaughterings from January to May.

Impact of horse meat issues on trade rumbles on

The latest HMRC trade data has been published and is available on the EBLEX website. In May, a 2% drop in production and continued robust demand for assured domestic product translated into a 1% decline in beef and veal exports. With a 13% increase in the unit price offsetting the marginally lower volumes, the value of UK exports was up 12% on the year to £34.1 million.

Imports were back 8% year on year, entirely as a result of lower volumes of frozen product which is more closely linked with the horse meat revelations. Imports from Ireland were back 4% on the year, somewhat surprising given the increase in production in Ireland. Again, those countries that were not implicated in the scandal shipped increased volumes. Further analysis is available in the July edition of the Cattle and Sheep Update published next week, for subscription please email [email protected].

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