The beef trade has shown some improvement across our key export markets as consumers are increasing purchases ahead of the upcoming festive period, according to Bord Bia.

It also cites that the cattle trade remains steady on the back of strong demand coupled with a continuing tightening in supply.

Bord Bia says the majority of steers were purchased at a base price of around €3.85 to €3.90/kg on the Quality Payment System with heifers being purchased on average at around €3.90 to €3.95/kg.

These prices exclude the €0.12/kg bonus which is payable on in-spec QA animals. Prices paid for O grade cull cows are generally making between €3.15 to €3.30/kg.

Department of Agriculture figures show cattle supplies at export meat plants for the week ending November 29 stood at around 36,400 head, which was up 14% on the figure for the equivalent week in 2013. Cumulative supplies for the year to date are 10% or 140,000 head above the figures for the corresponding period last year, currently standing at 1.53 million head.

In Britain, Bord Bia says reported cattle prices from the AHDB have remained similar to last week with GB R4L grade steers averaging at Stg 365.5p/kg dw (equivalent to 464.9c/kg dw) for the week ended November 29. Trade was steady for most cuts with colder weather increasing demand for forequarter cuts and sales of fillets are reported to be increasing ahead of the Christmas period.

In France, Bord Bia reports that little change in the trade was reported with demand relatively steady as consumers begin purchasing ahead of Christmas. Similarly in Italy demand was reported as increasing particularly for forequarter cuts with purchases of premium cuts rising in the run up to the festive period.