Beef in battle to beat slump

By FW staff

BEEF faces a tough struggle on world markets after its recent slump.

This reflects “global disenchantment” with beef after the BSE crisis and a collapse in traditional buyers purchasing power, says John Brook, managing director of Sogeviandes, a leading French meat group.

Speaking at the Meat and Livestock Commissions Outlook conference on Wednesday, he said economic meltdown in Russia meant EU beef and pork exporters were still owed about $400 million (£242m).

They also had to offload existing production onto other markets, sometimes at half price.

For beef was no longer a freely tradable product – varying demands of different buyers meant that goods, if rejected, could lose all commercial value.

“The lasting – and to some extent devastating – effect of the BSE crisis has been to kill off any notion of uniformity and thus flexibility within the world market,” said Mr Brook.

Other once reliable outlets were also disappearing, he added. Iran had imported 150,000t of beef a year. Now, lower oil prices and economic malaise meant just 30,000t was needed.

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