China’s hunger for Brazilian beef eases drop

Brazilian beef exporters will charge forward with growth plans for the Middle East this year

Early trade figures for the start of the year indicate Brazil’s top beef markets, Hong Kong and China, eased the burden of falling sales over January and February.

Two-month trade figures for the start of 2017 must be taken with a pinch of salt as they do not always reflect long-term patterns. Still, statistics revealing Brazilian beef exports were down 8% in volume and 6% in value may cause concern for the world’s second-largest meat exporter.

In January and February combined, the country exported 196,314 tonnes (t) of beef, generating $846m in revenue, according to the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (ABIEC).

Hong Kong and China were the top two markets for Brazilian beef, worth $86,396 and $62,669 respectively in February.

Brazil’s top 10

Hong Kong: $184m 
China: $137m
European Union: $89m 
Iran: £83m 
Russia: $69m 
Chile: $37m
Egypt: $34m
Saudi Arabia: $33m
United States: $32m
Israel: $18m
(Figures for January and February 2017. Source: ABIEC)

US and Brazil partnership

Brazil’s fifth-largest beef market in US dollar terms, Russia, showed good growth in the first two months of the year, according to ABIEC: volume was up by 8% and value by 11%, when comparing month-on-month figures for January and February.

Exports to the US appear to be rising too. This comes after Brazil and the US agreed a two-way trade deal in August 2016, which saw Brazil drop a US beef import ban in return for America easing fresh and frozen Brazilian beef restrictions. Analysts claimed the deal could boost Brazilian beef exports to the US by $900m.

In September 2016, the first load of Brazilian beef, 115t, was sent Stateside. In February, volumes hit 846t, so growth looks sent to continue an astronomical rise, albeit from a low base.

Four Middle East states made the top 10 value markets for Brazilian beef (Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel). Brazil is targeting growth in this region.

ABIEC, in addition to 17 Brazilian slaughterhouses, recently returned from the Dubai trade fair Gulfood, in February. An estimated $32m-worth of deals have been struck at the trade show that will benefit Brazilian meat traders, ABIEC has claimed.

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