The number of live cattle exported out of the EU during the first half of 2018 was 11% higher than the corresponding period in the year before, a recent outlook report from the European Commission has outlined.

The key partners involved in this trade are located in the Mediterranean area. Turkey, the main export destination, absorbed nearly 33% of EU live cattle exports.

In addition, the report outlines, Libya, Lebanon and Israel also remained key destinations – although buying fewer animals.

By contrast, EU exports to Morocco and Tunisia increased and those to Algeria more than doubled, as the country exempted live animals from its import ban.

However, the report suggests, live exports are expected to weaken significantly in the second half of 2018; restricting growth for the year to 1.5%.

This is due to the macro-economic situation in Turkey (high inflation and devaluation of the Turkish lira) and expected competition from other exporters, such as Uruguay and Brazil. But, live exports are expected to stabilise in 2019.

Sheep exports

Meanwhile, the report also outlines that EU exports of live sheep were 16% lower in the first half of 2018 than in the same period in 2017. For 2018 as a whole, they are expected to decline by 20%.

According to the report, this drop can be mainly attributed to fewer shipments to two key destinations – Jordan and Libya – which cut imports from the EU by more than 50%.

Exports diverted partly to three other key Mediterranean partners – Lebanon, Turkey and Israel – and other minor destinations, while part was traded within the EU.

The report also outlines that exports are expected to decline in 2019 too, if the problems in Libya and Jordan persist.