Exports Hit 10-Year Low30 November 2012
ARGENTINA - Herd liquidation prompted by drought has caused exports to fall for the first ten months of 2012 to 101,514 swt which is a 21 per cent drop year on year.
While in past decades Argentina had been firmly place among the top five beef exporting nations in the world, it has slipped considerably in recent years, with the most recent USDA figures placing it eleventh in 2012, report Meat and Livestock Australia.
The decline in exports volumes has largely mirrored the drop in cattle numbers, beef production and rising production costs. In 2006, the Argentinean herd stood at 60 million head, compared to an estimated 49 million head in 2012.
Also contributing to the decline in exports was the decision by the Argentinean Government several years ago to ensure an adequate beef supply domestically. In order to achieve this, the government implemented export quotas, which increased beef prices for the international market and reduced the competitiveness of Argentinean beef.
Such controls also impacted the slaughter market, with the number of abattoirs decreasing 65 per cent in the last five years, according to the Argentine National Health and Food Quality service.
Interestingly, Argentina is the largest EU beef quota holder with 29,375 tonnes swt, which represents 44 per cent of the total allocated EU quota to eligible nations. Last year (2011-2012), Argentina only shipped 64 per cent of its allocation, exporting a total of 18,800 tonnes swt.
The latest United States Department of Agriculture report on Argentina forecasts the cattle herd to increase 3 per cent in 2013, to 51.1 million head, with exports to rise 6 per cent, to 180,000 tonnes cwt.