Cattle prices will remain high for the first half of the year, according to Rabobank analysts.
Experts at the leading, global agri-bank say the big question for many beef importers will be where to source sufficient supplies. Global beef production will increase only slightly, and is expected to decline sharply in key markets, like the US, where herd rebuilding is the first priority; meanwhile, strong Asian demand is predicted.
“China’s importance and influence on the global beef market is set to continue to increase in 2014,” said Rabobank analyst, Albert Vernooij. “China’s imports of both frozen and chilled beef are expected to grow further, driven by the shortage of beef in the domestic market, reflected in record-high retail prices. We believe that the value of the Chinese markets will grow in excess of 10% annually over the next three years.” Demand will also be boosted by recently announced trade deals, including reopening of closed or impeded markets for beef imports.
The 2014 forecast follows a strong 2013 market, with the Rabobank Global Cattle Price Index having risen by 6% since June, driven by lower-than-expected beef supply in the main exporting countries and strong Asian demand.
Consumer resistance against high prices in the US and the EU, still two of the main beef markets, are the only negatives in a market that looks favourable for big, net beef exporters, such as Ireland.
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