Festive hangover and cheap imports cause fall in cattle prices

Festive hangover and cheap imports cause fall in cattle prices

A traditional fall in consumer demand in January coupled with increased quantities of Polish and Irish beef available in the UK and on the Continent have contributed to a fall in Welsh cattle prices.

According to the latest figures released by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, the all prime cattle average price for the week ending February 1st at 189p per kg was 7p down on the same period last year.

John Richards, Industry and Market Information Officer, said: “Liveweight cattle prices at Welsh auction marts have eased as a result of the usual drop in consumer demand during January.

“This is because consumer budgets are still suffering from the festive hangover with household austerity remaining a top priority.

“Another possible reason is the increased volume of imported beef, particularly from Ireland” said Mr Richards. “The latest data for November shows that beef and veal imports were seven per cent higher than year earlier levels.”

UK beef exports during November fell by 23 per cent, due in part to a slight decrease in production.

“It has also been reported that there are substantial quantities of cheaper Polish cow beef available on the continent,” said Mr Richards. “This has had a real impact on the cull cow trade, with the latest GB auction price at 103p per kg being 18p –or 15 per cent – lower than the same period in 2013.”

Polish beef and veal exports to the rest of the EU increased by four per cent to 240,000 tonnes in the first 10 months of 2013.

“The traditional markets for Polish beef, including Turkey and the Middle East, were disrupted early last year,” said Mr Richards. “That resulted in a greater volume of Polish beef entering other EU countries at competitive prices.

“It’s difficult to make a direct comparison due to different specifications employed in each country,” said Mr Richards. “But as a guideline the export price of Polish beef averaged €3,300 per tonne in the 11 months to November, compared with €4,200 per tonne for UK beef products and €4,700 per tonne for those from Germany.”

Most of the Polish beef was sold in Germany, Italy, Spain and France. Of the 215,000 tonnes of beef and veal imported into the UK in the first 11 months of 2013, 6,900 tonnes – or three per cent – was from Poland.

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