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EU Beef Supplies To Remain Tight

04 April 2011

EU - Following some increase in beef output in the EU-15 region in 2010, the latest indications from the European beef forecasting meeting points to lower beef output in 2011, with the same trend expected for 2012, reports the Irish Food Board, Bord Bia.

A solid global demand for beef combined with relatively little change in South American export supplies is expected by the group to help trade throughout 2011.

Net beef production in the EU-15 region is expected to fall by just over one per cent to 7.2 million tonnes in 2011. Apart from Ireland, most of the fall in beef production is expected to occur in the UK, Spain, Italy and Germany.Higher feeding costs combined with the effects of stronger cow disposals in 2010, are expected to affect production in these countries. Despite UK cattle throughput being 16 per cent higher at 511,000 head for the first two months of 2011, cattle supplies, particularly cows, are expected to tighten significantly as the year progresses. For the year, UK production is expcted to fall by 3 per cent. 

Source: EU Forecasting Meeting

The largest producer of beef in the EU, France, is expected to increase output by 3 per cent to in 2011, with supplies expected to strengthen in the second half. Looking ahead to 2012, EU-15 beef production should fall by a further 1 per cent to 7.1 million tonnes in 2012.

Against a background of austerity measures introduced by a number of the member states across the EU-15 region, consumption is forecast to fall by 1 per cent in 2011. Somewhat surprisingly, after the UK, the second largest fall in consumption is expected to occur in Germany, with consumption back 4 per cent and 3 per cent to 1.1 million and 990,000 tonnes. However, consumption is expected to settle down in 2012.

The improvement in the European trade since last Autumn has been helped by strong demand from international markets, in particular Russia and Turkey. For 2010, EU exports of beef and live animals more than doubled to 426,700 tonnes. Despite some increase in import tariffs being announced last week by the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture, exports to this region are still expected to remain strong throughout 2011. Before the increase in tariffs, Germany alone exported 4,000 tonnes pw to Turkey in January. Unfavourable exchange rates and relatively tight South American supplies are expected to result in EU imports showing little change in 2011.

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