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South American Beef Exporters See Mixed Results in March

A-Brazil

Brazil’s beef/beef variety meat exports in March increased 3 percent year-over-year to 106,010 metric tons (mt), though this was the smallest monthly volume since June 2013. Growth was led by Hong Kong (26,071 mt, +14 percent), Egypt (11,182 mt, +80 percent) and Iran (9,235 mt, +137 percent), while exports were lower to Russia (19,281 mt, -13 percent), Venezuela (8,764 mt, -36 percent), the European Union (7,167 mt, -18 percent) and Chile (4,204 mt, -34 percent).

A-Paraguay

Paraguay’s March exports were also higher year-over-year (25,066 mt, +17 percent) and were the largest since August. Lower exports to leading market Russia (12,741 mt, -13 percent) were more than offset by strong growth to Chile (3,695 mt, +601 percent), Brazil (2,087 mt, +52 percent), Hong Kong (2,045 mt, +47 percent) and Israel (1,983 mt, +45 percent). Chile reopened to Paraguayan beef in December 2012 after an FMD-related closure, but exports didn’t regain momentum until mid-2013.

A-Uruguay

Uruguay’s exports were lower (28,302 mt, -8 percent) than last March’s strong volume. China was again Uruguay’s largest destination (9,276 mt, +10 percent), with exports also increasing to Israel (3,254 mt, +33 percent) and the United States (2,811 mt, +10 percent). But exports to Russia plummeted in the first quarter, with March volume falling 61 percent to 1,937 mt. Exports to the EU (3,526 mt, -5 percent) were also lower, though Uruguay continued to grow its chilled beef exports to the EU under the duty-free grain-fed quota.

Smaller exports reflect a decline in Uruguay’s cattle slaughter, which is down 15 percent year-to-date. Last week cattle prices averaged $3.20/kg, down 16 percent from a year ago and down from $3.30/kg in the past month. Part of the weakness is currency-driven, with the Uruguayan peso down 20 percent year-over-year against the U.S. dollar.

Sources: Global Trade Atlas and World Beef Report