No let up on falling UK cattle prices

With the market fundamentals continuing to prove unfavourable for producers and processors still exerting some downwards pressure on the market, UK deadweight prime cattle prices have fallen again.

According to EBLEX in week ended April 25 the rate of decline showed no signs of slowing down and the GB all prime average fell by another 3p on the week to 336.3p/kg.

It says the all prime average has now fallen 25p since the turn of the year and is only around 5p/kg ahead of the five-year (2010-2014) average.

While the trend is still overwhelmingly downwards, some differing price movements crept into the trade.

EBLEX says steers and heifers meeting R4L specification both came back 4p on the week earlier to 346.8p/kg and 345.0p/kg respectively while young bull prices actually increased. R3 young bulls were a penny dearer at 327.2p/kg.

Irish/UK beef price differential

With Irish prices remaining relatively stable against falling prices in the UK, the price differential with the UK trade has narrowed in recent weeks, according to EBLEX.

In early March it was around 70p/kg, while more recently it is closer to 50p/kg.

Despite this, EBLEX says it is still fairly high in a historical context and consequently is likely to be adding to the pressure on the GB/UK cattle trade as the two markets attempt to move closer to each other.

However, offering better prospects for the UK trade, it cites that Irish supplies are starting to show signs of slowing, meaning that the availability of cheaper Irish product could be on the verge of tightening.

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