The cattle trade remains positive for the week ending March 24th and edged upwards again on the back of relatively good demand with some ease in supplies reported.
In general, steers were purchased at a base price of between €3.80/kg and €3.85/kg while heifers were making around €3.95/kg on the Quality Payment System with selected lots of heifers gaining higher returns. These prices exclude the €0.12 bonus payable on in-spec QA animals. Looking at cows, O grade cow prices are generally in the range between €3.20/kg and €3.30/kg.
Cattle supplies at Irish export meat plants for the week ending March 17th totalled almost 29,000 head which was on a par with the equivalent week in 2016. Cumulative supplies of steers and heifers were marginally ahead of 2016 levels. Young bulls were down by 11% while year to date supply of cows were up 17% on year previous levels. Overall total cumulative supplies of cattle were standing at around 364,000 head which was up 2% or over 7,000 head on the corresponding period in 2016.
In the UK, the trade eased slightly again this week on the back of relatively strong supplies. Cattle prices from the AHDB have shown a decrease in sterling terms and the GB R4L grade steers were averaging at 358.3 pence/kg dw. This is the equivalent to 415.80 cent/kg for the week ended March 18th. In terms of heifer prices, the R3 heifer in Great Britain was making the equivalent of 407 cents/kg with the Northern Ireland price making on average 399 cents/kg. Looking at exchange rates €1 was making on average 86.6 pence sterling during the week.
In France, the market remains unchanged with difficulties ongoing for imported product. Demand has slowed for most products including offal and traditional cuts. Domestic produced product is performing best while promotions are limited at retail level to domestically produced ribs. The latest R3 young bull price decreased by 2 cent and was making on average 373 cents/kg while the O3 cow price was unchanged at 314 cents/kg.
In Italy, little change was reported in the market this week. The R3 young bull price was up 2 cent on the previous week making on average 401 cents/kg while the O3 cow price was making 254 cents/kg. In Germany supplies remain slow however are adequate to meet current demand levels.
Looking at global markets, exports from Brazil have come under pressure in light of recent sanitary issues with a number of temporary restrictions in place across key importing markets. Meanwhile in the US import demand remains strong due to a decline in supplies from traditional suppliers such as Australia and New Zealand. Domestic consumption in the US remains relatively strong and higher consumption is expected for the full year 2017, forecast to reach almost 26kg per capita.