The firm said that beef prices in the EU continued its “contracyclical development” with prices rising to levels above €3.75 per kg in the final months of 2011.
Exports to Turkey had climbed since October, driven largely by “plummeting” live exports from France, which totalled 60,000 head in September and 107,000 head the following month.
Total EU exports from January to October reached 530,000t, an increase of 54%. This exceeded the previous year’s total by 50,000t.
“Tight supplies will continue to support EU beef prices at an elevated level,” Rabobank said.
“But some downward pressure is to be expected in the first quarter of 2012 and the difficult economic situation will further impact EU beef demand.
“The recovery in exports to Turkey is only temporary and Rabobank expects these exports to resume a declining trend in the near future.”
Rabobank also said it expected to see continued strength in the global cattle markets in 2012. Despite Northern hemisphere demand expected to slow in the winter months, the bank predicted cattle prices would post record highs as the market shifted from the short term supply bulge to low supplies.