- news, features, articles and disease information for the beef industry

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

23 December 2013

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 20 December 2013EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 20 December 2013

Expectations for an uplift in price fades

As December has progressed and 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 faded. In week ended the 14 December, deadweight cattle prices eased again as demand remained subdued. Prices for all categories of cattle were down on the week, resulting in the all prime cattle average falling 3p to 383.4p/kg. Reports suggest that processors remain cautious; with a particular reluctance to take young bulls over 16 months of age, they are picking the best quality cattle where they are able. Despite the current trend being contrary to seasonal expectations, prime cattle average prices are still 6% up on the year.

In contrast to the deadweight market, there were significant increases in liveweight prices early in the month as the Christmas show and sale season got underway, with prize animals reaching above market values. Sharp price increases are rarely repeated as the marketing period for the Christmas trade ends. Consequently, the all prime average at GB auction markets in the week ended 18 December was back 12p on the week at 195p/kg.

Tight supply continues to impact on trade

With tight cow beef supplies, beef and veal exports in October were back significantly on the year. On the back of a 5% drop in production shipments to the UK’s top 4 destinations, Ireland, the Netherlands, France and Belgium, were all lower. Higher valued boneless cuts continued to take a greater share of the product mix while the proportion of carcase shipments declined. Even with lower slaughterings, offal exports continued to be ahead of year earlier levels. Trade to Ireland increased almost three-fold on the year while shipments to Hong Kong and Ghana increased and together accounted for almost 20% of trade in October.

Beef and veal imports in October were again up on the year. Despite increased volumes from Ireland, shipments from the EU as a whole were back 2% as demand for manufacturing beef in the UK was still largely fulfilled by domestic supplies. Conversely, there was again a significant uplift in supplies from a number of sources outside the EU, notably, Brazil, Namibia, Australia and Botswana.

Season’s Greetings

Everyone involved with Cattle and Sheep Weekly would like to wish our readers a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. We will not be publishing Cattle and Sheep Weekly next week so this edition will be the last of 2013. The next edition will be published at the normal time on Friday 3 January 2014.

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