November 9, 2011


EU to become net beef importer


As production within the zone is predicted to drop by EUR0.02 (US$0.03), the EU is set to become a net beef importer next year.


The EU's short term outlook for beef has pointed to a tightening in supplies of beef and sheep meat next year, stable pig production and a slight increase in poultry meat production, in response to a higher demand for the cheapest meat. It will represent a turn-around for the EU after it became a net exporter of beef for the first time in eight years this year. A EUR0.024 (US$0.03) increase in beef production last year, combined with strong world demand, facilitated the 36,000 tonnes increase in exports this year.


However, beef exports are predicted to fall by almost EUR0.30 (US$0.41) in 2012 and imports are set to increase by more than EUR0.07 (US$0.10). Imports of sheep meat are also forecast to increase by almost EUR0.14 (US$0.19) next year and exports to decline by more than EUR0.08 (US$0.11). Imports of pig meat are predicted to increase by EUR0.08 (US$0.11) and exports to decline by EUR0.02 (US$0.03) next year.


Bord Bia's Gerard Brickley said that the reduction in beef output next year is being attributed to the continual decline in the cow herd, as well as the increased kill this year. He said that the report does not speculate on any major change in demand within the EU on foot of worsening economic circumstances.


"Also unknown is the extent to which international demand may change," he said. "Strong demand for pig meat from Russia and the Far East has played a significant role in supporting prices this year, as has international demand for beef and live cattle."

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