EU beef exports continue to climb, up 1% year-on-year

EU beef exports are continuing to climb, with a 1% increase in the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to AHDB.

Exports increased by over 1% to 130,000t, the organisation for the English beef and sheep industry said.

It attributes this entirely to higher shipments of bone-in fresh chilled product and frozen shipments were actually back 12% on the year.

According to AHDB, the largest market for EU beef is Bosnia and Herzegovina, where shipments were up almost 20% over the period to account for 18% of all trade.

The next largest market was Norway, it stated, with shipments being three-fold higher however, this was partially a reflection of a disappointing performance in the corresponding period of 2014.

The EU dominates Norwegian imports, mainly fresh chilled bone-in products, accounting for almost 80% of its total requirement in the nine-month period, according to AHDB.

The Norwegian is almost entirely supplied by Germany, from where shipments increased three-fold on the year.

The next largest markets for the EU are Switzerland and Hong Kong; AHDB stated that trade to Switzerland was back by 10% and to Hong Kong by 21%.

There is no doubt that this degree of market diversification has helped to soften the effect of the Russian ban on beef and veal imports, according to AHDB.

Shipments to the United States, almost entirely boneless frozen forequarters, amounted to 500t, despite increased market access for Ireland, it said.

However, it said that Irish shipments to the US are reported to have picked up only in September.

EU Beef Imports Remain Stable

According to AHDB, in the year to September imports into the EU are virtually unchanged on the year at 150,500t.

This overall stability is on the back of higher volumes of chilled product offsetting reduced shipments of frozen product, it found.

Brazil remained the largest supplier by some margin, AHDB said, accounting for around 30% all imports – shipments were down 6%.

For the two other largest suppliers there were contrasting trends; shipments from Uruguay were down 8%, while from Argentina they were up 5%, according to the organisation.

South America is still the largest supplier to the EU and, while AHDB stated its market share is still as much as two thirds, it had been over 90% in the previous decade.

The United States continued to take advantage of the EU autonomous beef quota, with trade up by around 7%.