Beef trade up year to date

Thursday, 20 October 2022


During August, the UK imported 17,900 tonnes of fresh and frozen beef, up 500 tonnes on July (3%), however back 3,500 tonnes (16%) on August last year.

Ireland remained the dominant supplier of fresh/frozen beef to the UK, sending 12,400 tonnes in August, with the next largest supplier being Germany, with 1,300 tonnes. Despite being the largest supplier, August’s import volumes from Ireland were down 27% from August last year. Imports from the Netherlands and Poland also recorded notable year on year decreases of 24% and 41% respectively. Between them, 800 fewer tonnes were sent than a year earlier.

These decreases were partially offset by increased imports from Germany (+41%), Spain (+63%), Namibia (+653%) and the South American countries of Argentina (+139%) and Uruguay (+56%).

Imports so far this year (Jan-Aug) have totalled 152,300 tonnes, up 8,800 tonnes (6.1%) on the same period for 2021 and 4% (6,500 tonnes) higher than 2020. While rising, they remained below pre-pandemic imports.


For the month of August, UK exports of fresh and frozen beef totalled 9,500 tonnes, an increase of 426 tonnes (4.7%) on August 2021, although back 1.1% (103 tonnes) on July.

Shipments of fresh and frozen beef to the EU grew year on year, bolstered by a weakening GB pound as well as a return to normalcy of trade following Brexit. Total trade with the EU was up 1,370 tonnes on August 2021, and within this uplift, most notably France saw a 65% growth on August last year, and the Netherlands saw an uplift of 40%. Higher shipments to the EU is anticipated to continue for the remainder of the year according to the EU short term autumn outlooks.

Trade with the rest of the world was a little more varied. Large drops were recorded for the month of August in exports to the Philippines (-84%), Hong Kong (-32%), the United States (-78%), and Senegal (-86%). However, the largest drops in tonnage occurred in trade to the Philippines, back 367 tonnes from last year.

Ireland remains the UK’s largest export partner, and though exports saw a small drop in volumes compared with August 2021, there was an uplift of 10.8% on July exports. Small uplifts in trade were seen with Canada, Ghana, and Japan year on year, totalling an additional 541 tonnes compared with August 2021.

Year to date (Jan-Aug), exports total 83,700 tonnes, up 20,100 tonnes (32%) on the same period in 2021.

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