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Tighter French Cow Beef Supplies Boost Imports

21 October 2013

FRANCE - The seasonal drop in French cow prices has been particularly marked in 2013, despite the continued limited disposals, as the hot, dry summer was not conducive to beef consumption, according to Bernadette Byrne from the Paris Office of Bord Bia – Irish Food Board.

This had the effect of forcing several meat companies to store volumes of beef.

The disposal of these stocks at a time of slow consumption levels has impacted on prices.

P & O conformation cows lost more than 25 cents in September, falling to €3.15 and €3.49/kg dead weight. R cow prices fell by 23 cents, but at €4.27/kg carcass is four per cent higher than its 2012 level.

The sharp decline in cow slaughterings was confirmed in August, when supplies were seven per cent lower than a year earlier.

This trend continued in September, with dairy cow disposals back by nine per cent compared to 2012.

Suckler cow disposals were back by six per cent as producers benefitted from very favourable climatic conditions for grass growth in early autumn and awaited decisions on French premia payments.

The lack of French cow beef on the market boosted imports. Fresh beef imports increased by four per cent in July, with frozen beef imports showing a substantial 28 per cent increase compared to 2012 levels.

The increased volumes came from Germany (+26 per cent), the Netherlands (+3 per cent), Ireland (+21 per cent) and Poland (+36 per cent).

Household fresh beef purchases during the mid August to mid-September period fell by one per cent compared to 2012, according to Kantar; while the average price increased by two per cent. An analysis of value-added product purchases during the period showed a move by households to cheaper products.

Fresh mince sales increased by one per cent, with frozen mince sales growing by a significant five per cent.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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