The contraction in beef prices in both Britain and Northern Ireland in recent weeks, while prices in the EU have remained fairly steady, has led to a narrowing in the differential between prices in both regions and average EU prices, according to the LMC.
Its figures show that in the week ending 1 June 2014 the average R3 heifer price in the EU was 396.9c/kg, unchanged from the 397c/kg in the week ending 4 May 2014. The euro weakened slightly against sterling from €1=82.2p in the week ending 4 May 2014 to €1=81.2p in the week ending 1 June 2014.
In the week ending 4 May 2014, the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) found that the R3 heifer price in GB was the equivalent of 425.7c/kg which placed it in first position. However a decline by 12c/kg to 413.7c/kg in the week ending 1 June 2014 moved it down into third position. This drop in the GB R3 heifer price while the EU price remained stable narrowed the differential from 28.7c/kg in the w/e 4 May 2014 to 16.8c/kg in the w/e 1 June 2014.
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, the R3 heifer price in the week ending 1 June 2014 was the equivalent of 404.9c/kg, down 9.7c/kg from 414.5p/kg in the week ending 4 May 2014. This moved it down one position on the EU league table from fourth into fifth place. The NI R3 heifer price was 8.0c/kg higher than the EU average in the w/e 1 June 2014 compared to 17.5c/kg in the w/e 4 May 2014.
In the Republic of Ireland, the R3 heifer price was 391.0c/kg in the w/e 1 June 2014, up slightly from the 390.2c/kg paid in the w/e 4 May 2014. It was however 5.9c/kg below the EU average price and 13.9c/kg lower than the equivalent price in NI.
The biggest positive mover in the EU league table was Spain which moved from fifth position in the w/e 4 May 2014, with a R3 heifer price of 403.7c/kg, up to first position in the w/e 1 June 2014 with a R3 heifer price of 416.5c/kg. This increase by 12.8c/kg puts the R3 heifer price in Spain 19.6c/kg above the EU average.