Argentinean Beef Exports Slashed In 2010

ARGENTINA - Argentinean beef exports during 2010 declined by 57 per cent on 2009, to 166,265 tonnes swt, as beef production contracted an estimated 23 per cent, to 2.6 million tonnes cwt.
calendar icon 26 January 2011
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Meat & Livestock Australia

According to analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia, the combination of government intervention and previous drought years resulted in a sharp decline in the cattle herd to 2009, with rebuilding efforts in 2010 accentuating the production decline.

Several years of government intervention in the Argentinean cattle industry contributed to the sharp drop in exports, which peaked at 432,653 tonnes swt in 2005.

However, while the intervention was aimed at maintaining beef supplies and prices for the domestic market, this was largely unsuccessful.

The sharp drop in 2010 beef production resulted in an estimated 16 per cent fall in domestic beef consumption (to 57kg/person per annum), while domestic beef prices soared.

The soaring domestic beef prices from late 2009 did however assist in the redirection of product to the domestic market, reducing the government's need to restrict export certificate.

As a result, beef export as a percentage of total production decreased to only 12 per cent in 2010, down from 20 per cent in 2009 and 25 per cent in 2005.

Although Russia remained as Argentina's main export market in 2010, shipments to this destination plummeted 75 per cent year-on-year, to 35,679 tonnes swt.

Israel was Argentina's second largest market in 2010, totalling 26,558 tonnes swt (down 13 per cent year-on-year), followed by Germany (down 20 per cent to 25,099 tonnes swt) and Chile (down 59 per cent to 18,006 tonnes swt).

Argentinean exports during 2011 are expected to remain steady, to possibly lower on 2010 levels, with production anticipated to decrease to around 2.5 million tonnes cwt.

After reaching 55.6 million head in 2006, the Argentinean cattle contracted to 48.6 million head in 2010 - the lowest level since 1964.

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