France remains the largest market for Irish sheepmeat, as exports jump

France continued to be the largest buyer of Irish sheepmeat during the first five months of the year, recent figures from the AHDB (the body for British beef and lamb) show.

According to the AHDB, Irish sheepmeat exports were up 16% or 18,200t during the first five months of the year, with exports to France accounting for just over one third of all shipments.

The volume of Irish sheepmeat exported to France also increased between January and May of this year, it shows, with shipments jumping by 34% compared to the same time last year.

Last year, the UK was the second largest buyer of Irish sheepmeat and according to the AHDB this trend has continued into 2016.

Between January and May, the UK imported 5,200t from Ireland, which is an increase of 17% compared to the same time in 2015.

Irish sheepmeat exports (January – May)
  • Total: 18,200t (+16%)
  • France: 6,200t (+34%)
  • UK: 5,200t (+17%)
  • Sweden: 1,600t (+36%)
  • Germany: 1,400t (+34%)

Figures from the AHDB also show that there has been an increase in the volume of sheepmeat shipped from Ireland to both Germany and Sweden, increasing by 33% and 36% respectively.

The value of Irish sheepmeat exports has also increased during the first five months of the year, it shows, increasing by 13% to just over €105m.

Weaker Sterling to benefit UK sheepmeat exports

According to the AHDB, the UK’s decision to leave the EU could possibly put downward pressure on Irish sheep prices for the remainder of the year.

Since the Brexit vote, the Sterling has weakened considerably against the euro and this has made products from the UK cheaper on continental markets.

And as a result, these cheaper UK products are likely to provide more competition to Irish shipments in markets such as France, Germany and Sweden.