Beef shortage could boost prices

04 May 1999

Beef shortage could boost prices

BEEF prices could rise because of a shortage of livestock later this year, according to the latest Cattle Market Outlook from the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC).

The commissions bulletin predicts UK beef output will drift below the 1998 level over the coming months and will then drop sharply in the pre-Christmas trading period.

MLC economists warn against over optimism but such a cautious approach is becoming harder to sustain, says The Herald today.

The bulletin expects a probable reduction in slaughter cattle supplies in the final quarter and prices remaining steady for the rest of the year.

Any beef shortage later this year would come at a time when competing supplies of pork and lamb will no longer be over-abundant or weakly priced.

The MLC has slashed its October-December prime cattle kill forecast by almost 30,000 head, a drop of around 20,000 tonnes in the crucial pre-Christmas period.

That would be equivalent to a drop of more than 10% from October-December 1998 and supplies are likely to be constrained after Christmas.

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