European Commission unveils short-term outlook for EU meat
The results of analysis by market experts in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development show the short-term outlook for the meat market.
The Short-term Outlook for EU Agricultural Markets in 2018 and 2019 report shows a continued small increase in beef production and higher imports are expected to lead to a slightly higher utilisation of beef.
An updated result of the December livestock survey confirmed a 1% drop in the total cow herd in the EU in 2017.
Despite the herd reduction, net beef production increased in the first quarter of 2018 by 2% year-on-year.
Part of the higher slaughtering rate being registered currently is due to the greater availability of young female dairy cattle.
Results show that two thirds of beef production came from the dairy herd.
Pigmeat production rose by 4.1% in tonnes in the first quarter of 2018 compared with
This fast growth is expected to moderate by the end of the year, due to low prices and struggling exports, and in 2019 production should stabilise, but this will depend on export performance.
Since 2015, the main driver of EU pork exports has been the fact that China has imported more, due to the restructuring of its pork sector.
The EU was said to keep its dominant position in the Chinese market in the first quarter of 2018 with a 66% share of pigmeat imports.
Sheep and goat meat production in the EU increased by a solid 7 % year-on-year.
However, that strong start to the year, boosted by an early Easter, must be compared with an exceptional drop of 7 % in the first quarter of 2017.
The number of ewes put to the ram stagnated in Spain and even declined in the UK, France, Greece and Italy.
Given the tight supply and high demand in the spring, heavy lamb prices significantly exceeded the average levels of previous years, but started falling in June.
Overall, EU net sheepmeat production is expected to stabilise in 2018, and increase slightly in 2019.
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