Ten year high for UK beef exports
The latest report from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) recorded the highest February beef export figure since 2011.
The UK exported 10,500 tonnes of fresh and frozen beef in February, up 54% from the same month a year ago.
AHDB said that the uplift appeared to be largely driven by an increase in the quantity of fresh carcases, especially those sent to France, which saw “tremendous growth” compared to the same month in 2021.
There was also a growth in shipments of fresh boneless beef, again with growth to France, but also Ireland. Elsewhere, fresh and frozen shipments to the Netherlands also saw notable growth, doubling on the year before to 1,900 tonnes in February.
However, AHDB said that it was important to contextualise the increases. In February 2021, UK beef exports were historically low, initially following the shock of the Brexit deadline at the end of 2020. AHDB said that at least some of the increases being seen in 2022 are a result of this shock being overcome.
Export volumes for the first two months of the 2022 totalled 17,700 tonnes, up 55% year-on-year. The value of these shipments totalled £66.9 million, supported by a 20% increase in the average export price.
Unprecedented import rises
Import figures show that the UK bought in 39,200 tonnes of beef in February. This was triple the amount imported in February 2021 and is significantly higher than any monthly beef import figure in at least the last 20 years.
AHDB said that while it would expect to see 2022 volumes to be in recovery from low exports last year, this rise in imports is “unprecedented and somewhat unusual compared to longer-term trends.”