Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 20 August 2017

Northern Irish beef more competitive as sterling weakens

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Northern Irish beef is gaining in competitiveness as the euro continues to trade strongly against sterling during 2017 to date and following the UK General Election.

The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) in Northern Ireland has noted that one such advantage is that a weaker sterling makes Northern Irish, and UK, beef more competitive on key EU markets while it also increases the cost of imports from other Eurozone countries, in particular beef from the Republic of Ireland.

It says during 2016 92pc of all UK beef and veal imports originated in the EU and with the euro currently trading strongly against sterling it reduces the cost competitiveness of imported beef.

A weaker sterling also provides benefits for Northern sheep producers.

Exports of sheepmeat to the EU accounted for 96pc of all UK sheepmeat exports during 2016 with France and Germany being the two largest market outlets.

A weaker sterling makes UK lamb more cost competitive against other Eurozone product and this makes it easier for local processors to secure market outlets, the LMC says.

It also highlights that a weaker sterling also makes Northern Irish lambs more attractive to processors in the Republic and this increases competition for lambs with the local processors.

This has had a positive impact on the live trade in marts in Northern Ireland and also has helped boost deadweight quotes early this week to 480-490p/kg up to 21kg in local plants.


In Britain, the trade remains positive this week, according to Bord Bia on the back of steady demand and decreased supply.

The AHDB report that GB R4L grade steers are averaging at 369.9 pence/kg dw which is the equivalent to 422.44 cent/kg for last week.

Looking at heifer prices, in Northern Ireland the R3 grade price equates to €4.20/kg (excl VAT) while the equivalent price in Britain was making €4.25/kg. Looking at exchange rates the Euro is currently making around 88p Sterling.

In France, Bord Bia says the market was reported as steady this week with demand being helped by recent good weather.

This has led to a lot more promotional activity at retail level with most promotions seen on domestically produced items such as steaks, mince, pavés, rump and chuck. Looking at prices, French R3 young bulls were steady at €3.72/kg while the O3 cow price decreased 2c and averaged at €3.27/kg.

Meanwhile in Italy, Bord Bia says little change has been reported with the market reported as relatively stable this week. Italian R3 young bulls were back 2c at €3.97/kg while O3 cows in Italy were down 1c making around €2.81/kg.

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