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Stable EU Beef Market Anticipated

27 April 2010

EU - The general consensus from the latest European beef forecast group indicated stability across a number of the key markets for 2010 with a number of Member States anticipating some recovery in beef consumption as the year progresses, according to Peter Duggan, Strategic Information Services at Bord Bia.

The European Commission anticipates that net production will ease slightly in 2010 following a two per cent decline in production in 2009.

Some key beef producers, including France and Germany will experience a decline in output in 2010.

However, this is expected to be offset by increases in Poland and Spain. The figures would suggest tighter supplies in both Germany and France as the year progresses with French output expected to fall by over four per cent in the second half of 2010.

French net beef production continues to decline as output is forecast to fall by almost three per cent to 1.46 million tonnes in 2010, reflecting lower cow productivity in 2008 due to higher incidences of blue tongue disease with some further decline anticipated for 2011. Beef imports are expected to increase by almost two per cent in 2010 to 390,000 tonnes with a further lift anticipated for 2011.

In Germany, an increase in live exports due to blue tongue restrictions easing throughout Europe combined with lower domestic throughput at meat export plants is expected to leave net beef production one per cent below 2009 levels at 1.18 million tonnes for 2010. Demand for German live cattle is expected to remain strong, which will put further downward pressure on output in 2011.

Italian beef production will remain relatively stable in 2010 at 1.01 million tonnes. Live imports of cattle are expected to remain relatively steady at 1.26 million head in 2010. Little change is expected in beef imports for 2010 at 400,000 tonnes.

Some revival in the Spanish beef industry is expected to leave production more than two oer cent higher at 590,000 tonnes in 2010. This is based on live imports in 2010 increasing by 24 per cent, with a further growth of eight per cent anticipated in 2011. This reflects some improved confidence within the Spanish feed lot sector.

Growth in Polish beef output seems set to continue with a rise of two per cent expected in 2010 and 2011, leaving output at 425,000 tonnes. Most of the increase is due to a strong slowdown in live exports while lower milk prices have triggered some liquidation in the dairy cow herd. By 2011, Polish beef exports are expected to increase by around 12 per cent on 2009 figures to reach 270,000 tonnes. For 2009, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands accounted for 61 per cent of the Polish beef exports.


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