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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

18 August 2014

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 15 August 2014EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 15 August 2014

Positive movement in trade again

In week ended 9 August, the deadweight cattle trade moved up again. With average prices in almost all categories of prime cattle strengthening, the all prime average was up 2p on the week at 328.8p/kg. Following a few weeks of stability, this movement represents the second consecutive week that the trade has demonstrated some positivity.

AHDB/EBLEX estimates indicate that fewer cattle were marketed compared with the week before. This contributed to a more competitive trading environment which has obviously resulted in stronger prices. Reports suggest that the better trading conditions were of particular benefit to cattle previously penalised for being outside of supermarket specification. Supporting this, and with around 600 head fewer forward, young bull prices strengthened to the greatest extent. R3 young bulls increased 4p on the week to 316.2p/kg.

While this position is better news for producers, it should be noted that Irish cattle supplies are still robust. While there was a two-week period of lower supplies, Irish cattle slaughterings have started to track ahead of yearearlier levels once again. This may continue, at least in the short term, as the flow of grass-fed cattle increases. This comes as producers attempt to avoid any penalties by finishing the increased number of cattle born in spring 2012 within the 30-month age threshold.

Trade figures paint a better picture for exports

UK trade data for June has been published by HMRC and incudes some revisions to previous data. Having originally been reported as showing a decline compared with a year ago, a significant upwards revision to export data for May means that volumes are now recorded as being 14% higher year on year. HMRC report that in June, the UK exported 9,660 tonnes of fresh and frozen beef, up 20% compared with last year. Increased shipments of fresh/ chilled carcases to the Netherlands largely drove the trade. However, cuts to France also performed very well.

A 9% fall in the unit value was more than offset by increased volumes and, as such, the export trade was worth £33.4 million in the month, up 9% year on year.

The offal trade is also reported to have performed very well, with shipments to all the major destinations higher. Overall volumes were up two-thirds on the year to over 3,500 tonnes. While average values to some destinations were lower than a year ago, there was a greater than 50% rise in the unit value of shipments to Hong Kong. This helped the value of the offal trade to increase by over 70% on the year, to £4.9 million.

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