Following a strong year for EU beef exports in 2014, exports also look promising this year, according to a recent outlook report by the European Commission.
In 2014, beef export volumes increased strongly by 29% or 46,000t.
The Commission says this is mainly thanks to increased exports to Hong Kong, Western Balkans and the Philippines.
In 2015, it says other destinations look also promising, like the US given that Ireland got official clearance to export beef there (moderate volumes expected) and shipments to Turkey seem to resume slowly, in spite of some administrative issues (BSE certificates), pushing EU exports in 2015 to an expected level of 224,000t.
The Commission says exports of live animals were higher in 2014 than in 2013 (+5.4%), representing more than one third of the volume of bovine exports.
Lebanon remained the main destination for live animals at 45%.
The Commission says that it is worth noting is the re-opening of the Turkish market and resuming of exports since October, which could change significantly the level of EU exports of live bovine animals. Therefore, live exports are expected to further expand in 2015 to a level of 130000t.
The Commission forecast that EU beef imports should stay virtually unchanged in 2015.
Beef prices, it says were on a declining trend till July 2014 but they started to recover since then, and currently they remain well above the 2007-11 average.
According to the report world prices are to remain high because of tight supply, high demand in the US and Asia, and a temporary drop in the Australian production potential.
It says in 2014, the higher beef availability on the EU domestic market allowed for a recovery of consumption of 10.5 kg/capita (in retail weight).
This is expected to continue in 2015, it says, but the rising beef price could limit the upward move to reach 10.6 kg/capita in 2015 before going back to its declining trend.