UK meat processors demand for cattle has slowed in recent days according to latest market reports from EBLEX.

It says processor requirements for commercial and scheme cattle appear to have slowed slightly on the back of a cooling in consumer demand.

According to EBLEX there are fears in the UK that some of this slowdown could be attributed to increased shipments of beef from the Republic of Ireland due to the attractiveness of the sterling/euro exchange rate.

Despite this, EBLEX also says adequate domestic supplies will also have played their part in tipping the supply/demand balance.

It says despite estimates suggesting the overall number of cattle coming forward was below the week earlier, steer throughputs were estimated to be up to their highest weekly level of the year so far.

In Britain, reported cattle prices from the AHDB have firmed with GB R4L grade steers averaging at Stg 368.4 pence/kg dw (equivalent to 516.17c/kg dw) for the week ended March 14.

Sterling hit a seven-year high against the euro on Tuesday. Latest trading puts the exchange rate at €1 = 0.718769 GBP

According to the Livestock and Meat Commission in Northern Ireland this strengthening in sterling against euro in recent months could make imports such as cereals, fertiliser and fuel cheaper if they are sourced in the Eurozone or traded in euros and thereby help reduce production costs for Northern Ireland beef and sheep producers.

However it also says while a strengthening in the value of sterling reduces input costs a strong sterling makes Northern Ireland and UK beef and lamb more expensive in euro terms.

This makes trading on the EU, and on the wider global market, much more difficult, it says.