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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

16 December 2013

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 13 December 2013EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 13 December 2013

Hopes of increased prime cattle prices end

With a general acknowledgement of the absence of any significant seasonal uplift in the appetite for beef at retail level, expectations of a December increase in prime cattle values have diminished. Reports suggest that processors have largely secured supplies necessary to fulfil their Christmas retail contracts. In week ended 7 December, with all classes of prime cattle cheaper on the week, the deadweight all prime average declined 2p to 386.0p/kg. As consumers appear to be budgeting food purchases and without a last minute storm of retail activity, the market could remain subdued as the holiday period approaches.

As in the deadweight trade, the latest prices at GB auction markets have also remained subdued. In week ended 11 December, the all prime cattle average was back 4p on the week at 207p/kg.

Despite the market on the continent still being under pressure from the amount of manufacturing beef available, deadweight cow prices edged up for the first time in 12 weeks. Looking ahead, export opportunities are likely to receive a welcome boost following Singapore lifting the ban on beef from the UK, put in place after BSE.

Producer share of the final retail price edges up in November

In November, both farmgate beef prices and average retail prices eased on the month. However with retail prices declining to a greater extent than farmgate prices, the price spread between the producer and the retailer widened. Producers received, on average, 57.4% of the final retail price during the month, a fraction more than in October. The price of all cuts of beef declined on the month, with the price of topside and premium mince falling to the greatest extent, by 4% and 3% respectively.

The latest measure is also a higher share than producers were receiving a year earlier, when it was 55.0%. Despite a 5% increase in the average retail price compared with November 2012, the farmgate price was up 9%. Standard mince is recorded as being 13% dearer, while both brazing and stewing steak are also significantly more expensive than a year ago.

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