UK cattle mart prices hit lowest point since July 2011

Reflecting the on-going pressure in the deadweight prime cattle trade, liveweight prices have hit lowest point since July 2011 according to EBLEX.

In a market update it said: “At 173.8p/kg the all prime cattle price from GB auction marts, in week ended May 3, had fallen by 39p since the record highs of summer 2013. While prices stabilised and even increased during the Easter disruptions, the latest week shows a strong return to the downwards trend, being 11p lower on the week.”

“This latest drop in the trade takes the all prime price to its lowest point since the end of July 2011. Currently, there is some variation in the individual categories of prime cattle. Steer prices are largely in line with the all prime price, at their lowest point since the end of July 2011.”

EBLEX analysts says the on-going fall in the cattle trade comes as the supply/demand balance remains firmly out of favour for producers.

It comments: “This comes as consumer demand has evidently been slow for some time, with the market failing to even pick up at Christmas. Additionally, the mild weather over the winter period will likely have resulted in lower demand for the higher quality cuts such as roasting joints.”

“A large part of the slowed demand is likely to be some price resistance on the part of consumers and some trading down in cheaper proteins such as pork or chicken. This reflects a similar pattern experienced in the lamb market after the record high farmgate prices of 2011.”

It highlighted latest Kantar Worldpanel consumer data shows that GB retail sales of beef in the first three months of the year were down seven per cent in volume terms, but expenditure was up one per cent.