Stable EU beef supplies anticipated – Bord Bia

The latest European working beef forecasting group indicated that beef output will be up this year with a small decline in supplies expected for 2015 according to Eoin Kelly, Business Analyst at Bord Bia.

He says beef output for 2014 in the EU15 is expected to increase by almost 4% to 6.89 million tonnes, driven by increases in Italy, Germany, France and the UK. Irish supplies are expected to be over 13% higher this year compared to previous levels.

Kelly says production increased particularly in countries where numbers of dairy cows are increasing to coincide with quota removal next year. He said outside of the EU15, Poland is expected to see a decline in production this year, with a 6% decline on 2013 levels expected.

Looking towards 2015, he says preliminary forecasts show beef output in the EU15 region is expected to decrease by less than 1%. Production is likely to increase in France, Spain, Netherlands, and Belgium next year. However production is anticipated to decline in Germany, Italy, the UK and Ireland.

Kelly says overall consumption levels within the EU fell last year by over 2%, but this trend is set to be remain relatively stable this year, with a small decline of less than 1% expected and little change in consumption is expected in 2015.

According to Kelly, the EU continues to be a net exporter of beef, however exports in 2013 were down 11% on 2012 figures. He says this decline is largely driven by a 28% and 94% reduction in exports to Russia and Turkey.

Declining exports have been offset somewhat by increased trade into African countries such as Algeria, and Asian markets such as Hong Kong. The majority of beef imports into the EU continue to come from South America, followed by Oceania and USA, Kelly noted.

Kelly says imports into the EU in 2013 were up by 9% on 2012 figures, driven largely by a 15% and 32% increase in imports from Brazil and Australia respectively. However, he says beef imports into the EU in 2013 were 40% of the peak levels recorded in 2007.

EU figures show that for January to August this year imports from Brazil have remained stable, with other South American imports showing a decline. According to Kelly this has been offset somewhat by an increase in Australian imports by 29%.