The latest European working beef forecasting group indicated that beef output will remain tight this year with a modest recovery in 2014 and consumption levels are expected to remain sluggish.

This is according to Eoin Kelly in strategic information services at Bord Bia in its latest food alert.

“Beef output for 2013 in the EU-15 is expected to be down by 2.2 per cent to 6.9 million tonnes. Declines in beef output are expected in France and Italy, both amongst the top three beef producing countries in the EU-15, with output expected to fall by three per cent and eight per cent respectively. Declining beef output is also evident in Germany and Portugal in 2013. Moving out of the EU-15, production is noticeably down in Poland, down more than 12 per cent in 2013. However this is being partly offset by growth in Irish, Dutch and Belgian output.”

Looking towards 2014, the strategic Bord Bia expert said beef output in the EU-15 region is expected to increase by around one per cent.

He explained: “A number of countries that have experienced declines in production this year expect some recovery in 2014. For example, French output is expected to increase by two  per cent and Italian output is to level off following a significant decline in 2013. In Ireland, production is expected to rise by around four per cent, while in the Netherlands, a three per cent growth in output is anticipated.”

Kelly continued: “Overall consumption levels within the EU are expected to fall by two per cent in 2013 to 7.1 million tonnes due mainly to ongoing austerity measures across various member states, with the strongest falls anticipated in Italy and Portugal. Little change is anticipated in 2014.

“The EU continues to be a net exporter of beef, but exports from January until August 2013 were down 15 per cent on last year’s figures. This decline is largely driven by a 28 per cent and 94 per cent reduction in exports to Russia and Turkey. Exports to North Africa have increased, with trade to Algeria from January until August this year up more than 60 per cent compared to the same period last year. Imports into the EU were up by over eight per cent on 2012 figures for the first eight months of this year, driven largely by a 14 per cent and 24 per cent increase in imports from Brazil and Australia respectively.”

Bord Bia’s Food Alert is available here.