Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 8 December 2016

Irish beef exports to the UK slump as exchange rate takes its toll

Published 21/11/2016 | 10:49

Imports from Ireland accounted for 75% of total beef imports from EU countries during the first nine months of 2016. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Imports from Ireland accounted for 75% of total beef imports from EU countries during the first nine months of 2016. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke

Irish beef exports to the UK slumped in September as an unfavourable exchange rate continues to make Irish beef less attractive to UK buyers.

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According to figures from the UK’s Revenue and Customs service during September 2016 a total of 14,356t of beef were imported by the UK from Ireland, a 13pc reduction from the corresponding month in 2015 when 16,499t of beef were imported.

Despite this Ireland continues to be the biggest source of beef imports for the UK with 129,739t imported during the 2016 period.

Imports from Ireland accounted for 75pc of total beef imports from EU countries during the first nine months of 2016.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board in the UK says the fall in Irish imports comes despite lower domestic prices in Ireland on the back of higher production.

While it says average unit prices were still up over 1pc in Sterling it also adds that increased domestic supplies in the UK will have been strong contributor to the decline in trade levels.

IFA President Joe Healy has urged a strong commitment on both sides to achieve a positive trading relationship in exit negotiations between the EU and the UK.

On the beef situation, Joe Healy said that with over 50pc of our beef exports go to the UK market, the weakness of Sterling does provide a major challenge.

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However, the IFA says that exchange rate volatility is not the only determinant of price returns and higher prices are justified and necessary.

“Demand for beef in the UK remains very strong. We are in the high demand Christmas procurement period, and trade has picked up. It is simply not acceptable for processors to return an unviable price to our farmers at this time.

“Prices must be restored to viable levels; factories must demand significantly higher prices from their British retailer customers and pass these increases directly back to farmers.”

Online Editors