Saturday 1 October 2016

Cattle prices take first hit on back of Brexit fears

Quotes down 10c/kg as political uncertainty piles on the pressure

Martin Coughlan, Darragh McCullough and Louise Hogan

Published 29/06/2016 | 02:30

Bord Bia warned that Brexit is a significant challenge for Ireland's valuable agri-food industry, with the beef trade alone valued at €1.1bn.
Bord Bia warned that Brexit is a significant challenge for Ireland's valuable agri-food industry, with the beef trade alone valued at €1.1bn.

THE UNCERTAINTY over the impact of the UK's vote to exit the EU has seen up to 10c/kg wiped off beef prices at the factories and over €100/hd for store cattle at some marts.

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Teagasc economist Kevin Hanrahan has warned the Brexit is likely to impact on all produce prices including cattle and may also hit sheep exports to France due to increased competition from the plummeting pound.

Bord Bia warned that Brexit is a significant challenge for Ireland's valuable agri-food industry, with the beef trade alone valued at €1.1bn.

The processors' body Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said the immediate concerns are the fall in value of sterling and weaker consumer spending in the UK economy.

"There is no question but that Irish beef, lamb, pigmeat and poultry exports to the UK will continue," said MII spokesman Cormac Healy, "but it will result in potential increased cost of doing business and customs.

"There is a concern that the UK will seek to conclude bilateral trade deals with other non-EU international countries such as Brazil, to cushion the impact of Brexit on food prices. Such deals would also undermine the competitive position of Irish meat in the UK," he said.

Prices

Meanwhile, factory quotes for bulls and cows are down 10c/kg, with steers and heifers down 5c/kg.

While farm leaders and some mart managers stated that numbers of finished cattle are tight, prices at the marts are also down 6-7c/kg, with some categories back by over €100/hd.

Sixmilebridge manager Sean Ryan described the trade last Saturday as "sticky", with forward stores back by up to €100-120/hd.

The week-on-week fall over the last fortnight has slashed €57/hd off bullock prices and €32/hd off heifer prices.

However, the IFA's livestock chairman Angus Woods said that factories should be insulated against currency movements in the short-term.

Sheep prices bucked trends, boosted by a 10-15c/kg increase in prices at the meat factories.

Despite sluggish demand on our main continental market in France, supplies are said to be tight, driving a €2-3/hd rise for lamb in the livestock marts.

IFA president Joe Healy warned it is critical steps are taken by Irish and EU governments to "minimise uncertainty" created by Brexit at a time when there are low product prices across so many sectors,

The ICMSA's president John Comer cautioned the introduction of a tariff regime would be "simply disastrous" for our €4.4bn agri-food trade with the UK.

Meanwhile, auctioneers have reported an immediate impact on rural property sales with one west Cork auctioneer saying two British clients had withdrawn from transactions because of the Brexit vote.

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