Spanish Economic Crisis Underpins Strong Live Cattle Exports

SPAIN - As the economic crisis in Spain deepens, this is having a direct knock on effect for the Spanish feed lot sector, with live cattle exports becomingly increasingly important, according to Cecilia Ruiz from Bord Bia Madrid.
calendar icon 14 May 2013
clock icon 2 minute read

Beef demand continues to fall in Spain. After an overall fall of 2.6 per cent in 2012, it fell further by 3.6 per cent in the first months of 2013, leaving per capita home consumption at 6.3kg, one of the lowest in Europe.

With domestic beef consumption under pressure, the feedlot sector has been boosted by strong demand from the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region for live cattle.

The ports of Tarragona and Cartagena in particular are loading cattle nearly every fortnight, with the Lebanon and Libya as main destinations. During 2012, Spanish livestock exports grew by 163 per cent or 159,000 head compared to 2011 levels.

These exports are mainly driven by animals over 300kg destined for the MENA, Italy, Portugal and France, with cattle under this category accounting for 73 per cent or 108,000 head of the total live export market.

Not surprisingly, live cattle imports declined by 14 per cent or 59,000 head in 2012 on previous year levels.

The majority of cattle imported are calves (less than 80kg) from France, Poland, Ireland, Germany and Romania.

This category accounted for 64 per cent or 236,000 head of total live cattle imports during 2012.

However, live cattle imports from Ireland have bucked 2012 trends during the first four months of 2013, with imports 172 per cent or 10,700 head higher in the first four months of 2013.

Most of this increase is evident in the calf category in response to increased calf registrations coupled with some fall in costs.


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