UK beef prices should firm up next year amid tighter supplies, according to the latest forecasts from EBLEX – the organisation for beef and lamb levy payers in England

The latest outlook for the UK beef market confirmed that production and cattle availability will be lower in 2015. With lower production, robust exports and lower imports expected, forecasts point to the prospect of stronger prices.

“The market has been under pressure for most of this year, largely due to higher supplies, and that has been well documented,” commented Debbie Butcher, senior market analyst for EBLEX

“However, with supplies available next year falling, the UK beef market should be under less pressure than it has been for much of 2014. We are also expecting a fall-off in Irish beef supplies. And this factor will also help to tighten up market conditions, given that Irish beef is such a key factor on the UK market.

“So the possibility of beef prices improving over the coming months does exist. But, as ever, it will depend on consumer demand.

“There is an expectation that demand for meat across the board will strengthen as we move into the early months of 2015. And, if this does happen, beef sales will benefit accordingly. The impact of consumer demand on the whole tenor of the beef market cannot be underestimated.

“Also, while production levels are expected to be lower, firm demand for manufacturing beef could potentially support exports into 2015. The fifth quarter trade is also likely to present the industry with an opportunity to maximise returns through full utilisation of the carcase.”