Beef Exports to Russia Continue to rise

AUSTRALIA - Demand for Australian beef from Russia has increased dramatically over recent months, as supplies from South America have been reduced due to trade restrictions and high prices. Australian beef exports to Russia for the March quarter were 12 times greater than the same period last year, at 4,740 tonnes swt.
calendar icon 14 April 2008
clock icon 2 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

During the March quarter, there has been a significant increase in the volume of Australian silverside/outside, chuck and blade and thick flank/knuckle cuts sent to Russia – none of which were exported during the same three month period last year.

Driving the increase in interest from the Russian market in recent months has been the limited supply and high prices coming out of South America. Three major Brazil beef producing states (Sao Paul, Parana and Moto Grosso do Sul) are still unable to ship product to Russia due to the foot-and-mouth related ban imposed in late 2005. Tighter cattle supplies, the rising Brazilian real and strong local beef demand have also led to significant increases in Brazilian beef prices – to levels close to or above Australian beef in most cases.

The Argentine government’s suspension of beef exports – Russia’s second largest supplier of beef products after Brazil – has also contributed to the recent increase in demand for Australian product. Argentine exports have resumed this week but remain under government limits and export taxes.

While Russian beef consumption remains low at 15.73kg/capita (54% below the 1991 level at the time of the USSR break up), the United States Department of Agriculture has forecast total beef consumption to rise 40,000 tonnes in 2008 on 2007 levels, to 2.46 million tonnes. According to the USDA, current trends suggest that Russia will continue to increase beef imports as oil revenues drive a strong economy and rises in consumer incomes.

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