Covid-19 continues to limit EU beef production

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Trade friction between the EU and UK is a key theme of the latest EU short-term outlook. Beef production within the EU is forecast to contract marginally, reflecting a reduction in both the suckler and dairy herds. Food service demand for beef has reduced.

Ireland is the main driver of this drop with the kill brought forwards from 2021 into the final months of 2020 in anticipation of friction. Production in Denmark has also declined, reflecting a reduction in the cow herd, Covid-19 regulations, and lower food service demand. An increase in Spanish production has partially offset these declines.

Exports of beef from the bloc dropped in the first half of the year, largely due to the trade friction between the EU and UK. Imports have also declined, driven by the short supply of beef on the world market and the closure of the EU food service sector. Volumes traded are expected to increase in 2022 as food service reopens and tourism increases.

Meanwhile, sheep meat production is forecast to grow by 1.3%, although the market is likely to continue to be tight. Exports from New Zealand continue to be redirected to Asia, and high shipping costs have only encouraged this behaviour. Trade friction between the EU and UK continues to put some downwards pressure on volumes of both imports and exports.

Image of staff member Rebecca Wright

Rebecca Wright

Senior Analyst - Red Meat

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