Calf exports to Spain leap 33% despite fall in beef consumption

Calf exports to Spain rose by 33% during the first six months of 2014, despite a 5% fall in beef consumption among Spaniards.

Beef prices, following a very strong start to the year, suffered a decline from the end of April until the end of June, and have remained more or less stable since then, at €3.85/kg. On the live front, the current price for Spanish crossed bred R+ bulls stands at €650, while the equivalent heifers are selling for €530.

“The good forecast for Irish calf exports to Spain in 2014 has materialised, with an increase of 33% in exports in the first six months of the year, to a total of 39,530 head,” stated Cecilia Ruiz of Bord Bia’s Madrid office. “That’s 9,635 more than the same period the previous year.

“There is no perfect year for cattle finishers. While most are content and tell me that 2014 is better than 2013 due to meal prices, the reality is that weak domestic demand and the fall in cattle exports to third countries is not helping prices.”

Beef consumption in Spain continues to decline, with a home consumption fall of -5.1% in volume and -4.4% in value in the first months of the 2014.

The supermarket chain Mercadona, Spain’s market leader with 22% of retail beef sales and the benchmark for other retailers, is selling young bull steaks at €10.90/kg, 14 days matured ribeye at €11.90/kg, and fillets at €31.95/kg.

Spain’s national kill in the January to June period fell by -4.4% (-43,400hds), while beef imports increased by 6% due to competitive prices from European countries.

“In the cattle trade, there has been a shift in demand from weanlings to Friesian calves as the cost of the animal is too strong versus the price beef is getting,” said Ms Ruiz.


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