Prospects of a firmer UK beef market next year

The latest AHDB/EBLEX forecasts for beef and veal indicate that 2015 will be a year of lower cattle availability and reduced production.

It says combined with robust exports and lower imports, supplies available on the UK market next year are forecast to be lower than in 2014.

It means that the UK beef market should be under less pressure than it has been for much of this year and the possibility of firmer prices is improved.

However, AHDB/EBLEX forecast does caution that while the UK appears to be leaving the economic crisis behind, wage increases remain below inflation, which may continue to put consumers under financial pressure.

In the short term, it seems possible that price-conscious domestic consumers will continue to drive towards cheaper shopping baskets, offering some challenge for beef consumption.

In week ended October 25, the prime cattle trade in the UK broadly levelled for another week.

Despite AHDB/EBLEX estimates  indicating fewer prime cattle came forward, compared  with a week earlier, the GB all prime deadweight average  stabilised at 348.7p/kg. For another week, this indicates
that supply and demand are broadly matched.

EBLEX says prices for cattle falling into target specification, were  virtually unchanged on the week with R4Ls at 360.2p/kg   and 359.1p/kg respectively. Despite this stability, reports suggest that, with processors gearing up requirements for Christmas, firmer demand is starting to filter through, in particular for those cattle with better confirmation.

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