UK beef trade returns to “normal” during June

Friday, 21 August 2020

By Rebecca Wright

UK beef trade continued to contract year-on-year during June. Total beef imports recorded a 4% (1,000 tonne) decline, according to HMRC data. Meanwhile, exports were also down around 1,000 tonnes having been high during the summer of 2019. To an extent this reflects a return to more usual volumes following the beef price crisis of 2019.

In June primary beef imports stood at 19,700 tonnes. While this is only a small decline year-on-year, it is 3,100 tonnes below the five year average. Shipments from Ireland were up 900 tonnes on-the-year, however, there was a decline in volumes received from Poland, the Netherlands and South America. Much imported beef is aimed towards the UK food service market which remained closed due to COVID-19 until the beginning of July. This closure is likely to have been behind the sustained lower volumes. Volumes had been recording even larger year-on-year declines earlier during the pandemic. A pick up in Irish production is likely to have supported volumes from Ireland to the UK.

Primary beef exports totalled 9,300 tonnes and while this is lower on-the-year, it is 600 tonnes above the five year average. Exports to Ireland and the Netherlands both declined, by 600 and 700 tonnes respectively.

Rebecca Wright

Analyst - Red Meat

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