October 27,  2020


AHDB: UK beef imports remain low for year-to-date



The United Kingdom continues to be a net importer of beef products based on both trade volumes during August and total trade for the year-to-date, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said.


UK exports accounted for around 20% of the country's total beef production in August, according to Defra data.


The latest HMRC trade data shows that during August, total beef (fresh/frozen, offal and processed) imports declined marginally on the previous month to total 23,500 tonnes. Despite this, imports are now higher than the same month last year. For the year-to-date, imports remain below last year's levels, although this gap may potentially begin to tighten in the coming months.


During the first eight months of the year, Ireland accounted for 70% of the UK's total beef imports.


Total beef exports were estimated at 13,600 tonnes during August. It was a slight increase on July, although volumes remained notably below the same month last year, according to HMRC.


Based on the first eight months of trade for the year, overall beef exports are down 3% year-on-year totalling 119,900 tonnes.


The major export destinations for UK beef remain the same year-on-year, with the vast majority currently going to the European Union (in particular, Ireland, France and the Netherlands).


In the coming months, other countries around the world may increase volumes, such as the US, Japan and China as new trade deals come into fruition, AHDB said.


The relatively high UK beef prices seen in recent months, are likely to be a factor making UK exports less competitive, although a weak sterling compared to the Euro will help to offset this somewhat.