Despite Surge to China, Uruguay’s Beef Exports Down in 2013


Uruguay’s 2013 beef/beef variety meat exports slipped 4 percent to 264,257 mt despite a near-tripling of exports to China (80,789 mt, +199 percent), which accounted for 31 percent of Uruguay’s total export volume. Exports to the United States (27,825 mt, +3 percent) were moderately higher while shipments to Russia (36,785 mt, -50 percent) declined dramatically as exporters found higher returns in China and other markets.

While Uruguay’s total export volume to the European Union was down 9 percent to 38,891 mt, chilled exports to the European Union increased 20 percent (to 19,894 mt) as Uruguay continued to grow its exports under the grain-fed, duty-free quota.


Uruguay’s smaller beef exports reflected a 5 percent decline in its 2013 cattle slaughter as producers retained females, with cow slaughter down 9 percent. As of Feb. 12, Uruguay’s beef carcass prices were about $3.34 per kg – up 3 percent from January but still 12 percent lower than a year ago. However, lower prices mainly reflect the weaker Uruguayan peso, which is down 15 percent against the U.S. dollar compared to February 2013.