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UK’s June beef imports defied headwinds, says AHDB

Staff Writer |
Imports of beef by the UK in June were up 2% compared to 2016, with shipments from the EU driving this increase, despite the steady strengthening of the euro against sterling since mid-April.

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According to the UK’s Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), most of the increasing shipments came from the key beef import suppliers to the UK, which are Ireland, Poland and the Netherlands.

Ireland’s share of the UK beef import market is running at about 70%. Imports rose to 23,400 tonnes in June, despite the euro strengthening from £0.834 in mid-April to about £0.92 this week.

Imports from outside the EU remained in decline, as has been the case throughout 2017.

For the first six months of 2017, the UK imported 129,700 tonnes of beef, just 1% more than last year.

The EU supplied 96% of this beef, which is five percentage points more than during the same period last year, according to the AHDB.

The rising beef imports in June have also overcome a trend of slower domestic retail demand within the UK since mid-May. In the 12 weeks ended July 16, primary beef sales in the UK were 2% lower than a year earlier, according to market analysts.

The Irish beef industry continues to benefit from the surprising strength of exports to the UK in the face of currency headwinds and slower retail demand.

However, our net beef trade to the UK may not have been as impressive, because beef exporters in the UK enjoyed a second consecutive month of year-on-year export growth in June, and these higher beef export volumes were primarily driven by a recovery in shipments to Ireland.

These rising exports have been helped by the slower retail demand in the UK increasing the availability of exportable supplies, according to the AHDB.

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