16 January 1998

Weaker Punt good for Irish exports

IRELANDS currency, the Punt, has depreciated rapidly, further improving the countrys export position.

It comes at a time when British beef farmers are facing stiff competition from Irish supplies. The countrys "deseasonalisation" premium – currently worth about £50 a male animal – is encouraging more cattle to be marketed in the early new year, says the Meat and Livestock Commissions Jane Connor.

Figures from the Irish Food Board show more than 28% of cattle slaughterings at meat export premises occurred in the first quarter of 1997, compared with just 16.7% back in 1986.

Two devaluations of the Irish green rate were triggered last week, leaving the I£ worth 0.785663ecu on Jan 9.