Despite French beef imports falling 3% on the year, largely on the back of lower volumes from the Netherlands and Italy, shipments from Germany and Ireland both increased, 9% and 7% respectively according to EBLEX.

Its analysis also shows that French beef and veal exports from January to July this year fell 8% compared with the same period in 2013.

The origination charged with providing market information to UK farmers found that more than 80% of French beef exports are destined for three locations, Italy, Greece and Germany.

It says the fall in exports has been driven by lower shipments to these major destinations and most other smaller locations.

Exports to Italy, by far the largest customer for French beef, are back 2% in the year to date, while shipments to Germany are 15% lower. In contrast, trade to both the United Kingdom and Hong Kong have increased, although these two countries combined only account for a 2% share of total beef exports from France.

The EBLEX analysis also said that in addition to lower shipments the unit value has also fallen, compared with the year earlier, being back 2% to €4,400 per tonne. As such, the combination of lower shipments and cheaper prices means that the value of the export trade was back 9% on the year to €517 million.