China has become the largest importer of frozen Argentine beef, according to new data released by the Industry and Trade of Meat and Meat Produce Association (CICCRA) yesterday. The data revealed that China’s consumption of frozen Argentine beef has boomed in recent months, with the Asian giant receiving 17,050 tons of beef so far this year, which equates to 35.2 percent of total exports.
This represented a huge increase in beef exports to China — with current growth estimated to have expanded by 266.9 percent on the year, effectively quadruple as much to previously published data. Chile, meanwhile, was confirmed as the second largest recipient of frozen beef, purchasing 10,050 tons so far in 2015, or 20.8 percent of the total. Unlike China, this reflected a slight drop in demand, down 6.6 percent.
Other main importers of Argentine beef included third-placed Israel, buying a total of 7,238 tons between January and May at 14.9 percent and in fourth, Russia, which imported 5,129 tons, or 10.6 percent of total exports— a fall of almost 20 percent. Long-term recipients Germany and Brazil also ranked highly, with purchases of 2,206 and 1,782 tons respectively.
The data also revealed that the average Argentine currently consumes almost 60 kilos of beef per year, with per-capita consumption of the red meat recorded at 59.9 kilos per annum, in fact a slight drop of 2.9 percent on the previous year.
Overall, total consumption of Argentine beef showed a growth of 3.3 percent, with the report stating that activity in the beef refrigeration industry was now at its highest level in almost two years, approaching a previous peak of October 2013. Overall revenues (up 0.3 percent), however, were curtailed by falling prices. “The growth in export volumes was offset by lower unit price,” the report said.
Fewer Cows Slaughtered
The data also detailed the latest numbers of animals slaughtered in production, showing that 1.1 million animals were butchered in June alone, raising the yearly total to 6.18 million for 2015 so far, “up 3.1 percent from the preceeding year.”
Crucially, the number of cows being slaughtered as an industry total fell last month to just under the required limit set to ensure the maintenence of stocks. In June, 42.2 percent of animals slaughtered were cows, below the 43 percent cap fixed by the industry to maintain a population balance. Exports of beef from cows and bulls grew annually, though at significantly disperate rates (1.9 percent and 12.9 percent respectively).
This means, according to CICCRA, “an optimistic outlook that can be interpreted as implying that we are at the beginning of a phase of retention. It seems that the next change in the national administration is generating positive expectations for producers,” the report said.
Date: July 9, 2015