It is inexplicable how beef price is not well above €4.00/kg at this stage, given that all the supply and demand metrics are extremely favourable in 2021.
That is according to ICSA beef chair, Edmund Graham, who claims he is “challenging meat processors to explain what they are at”.
“The fact that Irish beef price has been essentially static for months at a time when prices elsewhere are hardening, along with favourable strengthening of sterling, suggests there is an orchestrated effort being made by factories here to keep a lid on prices.”
Retail sales of beef and Bord Bia price tracker
He referred to the latest figures show an increase in spend on retail sales of beef in Britain of some 15.8% compared to the same period twelve months ago.
Meanwhile, the Bord Bia beef price tracker shows Ireland’s price has slipped to 13c/kg behind “where it should be based on the prime export benchmark tracker”.
“The kill numbers are 10.5% lower year-on-year in Ireland, but this is not being made up by international imports into the EU.”
Sterling, beef export deals and Chinese market
In fact, he added, imports from outside the EU fell by 10% in 2020, and this fall has not been reversed so far in 2021.
“We have evaded the risk of a no-deal Brexit. Last but not least, sterling is stronger now which improves the price that UK customers can afford to pay for Irish beef.”
“Given all of these favourable winds, it is impossible to understand why beef price remains so subdued. I have demanded that meat factory bosses attend the next Beef Taskforce meeting to explain just what is going on.”
“Recent news of a deal on exports of beef, including over 30-month beef, is a further reason why beef price should be on an upward curve in the medium-term. Beef factories cannot evade market realities when there are positives.”
He said the last piece of the jigsaw will be the reopening of the Chinese market.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that every time there is bad news or unfavourable market trends, we get hit with instant price cuts.”
“Now that everything is in our favour, there is an inexplicable refusal to reverse prices which have been suppressed for the past two years,” he concluded.