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Brazilian Meat Exports up in February

22 March 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

BRAZIL - Good pasture conditions helped Brazilian steer prices to remain steady throughout February and in the first two weeks of March, averaging 331US¢/kg cwt, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.

Although prices have been steady recently, they are still lower year-on-year, assisting export volumes. Brazilian beef shipments in February rose 38 per cent year-on-year, to 75,816 tonnes.

Chicken and pork exports were also up, reflecting higher protein demand in international markets.

Brazil’s strong beef exports in February were across a wide range of markets, with shipments to Russia up 48 per cent year-on-year, to 22,587 tonnes.

With the Brazilian currency appreciation, beef export prices to Russia were lower, down 10 per cent year-on-year, averaging 3.93 US$/kg last month. Shipments to Hong Kong were also up 82 per cent year-on-year, to 14,908 tonnes.

Exporters reported that the uncertain political situation in Egypt is compromising the economic situation - with a significant decrease in beef exports to Egypt in February, down 35 per cent year-on-year, to 4,572 tonnes.

Brazilian chicken exports also rose 2.5 per cent year-on-year, totalling 263,650 tonnes, with Saudi Arabia and Japan the major destinations.

Shipments to Saudi Arabia increased 58 per cent, to 60,930 tonnes . Pork exports totalled 34,575 tonnes in February – an increase of 12 per cent year-on-year.

The Brazilian government recently announced the exemption (federal tax-free) on products considered essential for good nutrition and hygiene. Included on this list are beef, pork and chicken meat, which will have a six per cent decrease in prices.

This decision should increase domestic meat consumption, especially beef, as it is considered the favoured source of protein by most Brazilians.

EU Imports More Brazilian Beef

Brazilian fresh beef exports to the EU started 2012 strongly, with shipments up 106 per cent year-on-year for the January to February period, totalling 10,998 tonnes.

The growth in shipments registered in January and February comes on the back of increased production within Brazil, with cattle slaughter for the period up eight per cent.

Weaker domestic demand for hindquarters throughout the period also contributed to an increase in availability of product destined for the EU.

Historically, Brazilians pay the majority of their taxes from January to March, leading to a decrease in disposable income and a trading down in beef consumption, with forequarter sale increasing at the expense of hindquarters.

Frozen beef exports to the EU rose 121 per cent, to 7,772 tonnes and chilled shipments increased 74 per cent, to 3,148 tonnes.

With weaker domestic demand of hindquarters cuts in Brazil and prices down 2 per cent in February, exports to the EU helped to absorb the increase in production.

Although beef exports to the EU increased, Brazil has limited ability to supply the EU, as few cattle farms are eligible to supply the market.

Since 2008, Brazilian farms have had to be accredited to supply the EU. In 2007, before the traceability requirements took effect, EU imports of Brazilian beef totalled 182,000 tonnes.

This dropped to 42,000 tonnes in 2008, as traceability requirements took effect, while in 2012 imports of Brazilian beef totalled 49,964 tonnes.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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