Beef prices hold firm as sterling weakens
Strong demand for meat and tight global supplies is insulating domestic beef prices from volatility on currency markets.
Sterling dropped against the euro in the wake of the UK election, with the exchange rate moving from 87p to the euro last week to 88.5p yesterday.
However, the fall in the value of sterling has not had an immediate impact on beef prices.
Factory quotes for both heifers and steers have generally held this week as processors compete for cattle to fill orders. Steers were making €4.15-4.20/kg yesterday, with heifer quotes ranging from €4.25/kg up to €4.30/kg in cases. Plain P grade cows are on €3.10-3.15, with O grades making €3.40-3.50/kg.
IFA national livestock chairman Angus Woods said steady beef prices were being driven by "extremely strong market demand and rising prices" in Britain.
"UK prices have risen each week for the last 10 weeks in a row by over 16c/kg. These price increases, which are continuing strongly, outweigh any change in the sterling exchange rate," Mr Woods said.
"Beef demand across all other markets is also very strong and there is not an ounce in store anywhere," he claimed.
However, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) director, Cormac Healy, cautioned that the outcome of the UK general election had "piled on further uncertainty as evidenced by the reaction of the currency markets".