Argentinean Government Releases Hilton HQB Quota

ARGENTINA - The Argentinean government has finally released the remaining 60 per cent of the “Hilton” high quality beef (HQB) quota - nine and a half months late, raising concerns as to whether the 2009-2010 quota will be fulfilled.
calendar icon 21 April 2010
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40 per cent of the quota (11,200 tonnes) has already been distributed, although La Nacion reports that only 9,000 tonnes has been shipped. The industry is expecting free-on-board (FOB/ export) prices to ease as larger volumes are shipped during the remainder of the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Local analysts doubt whether the 28,000 quota will be fulfilled, particularly considering there is only two months left to ship the remainding 19,000 tonnes. The business cycle runs 1 July - 30 June.

Many estimate that Argentina's HQB shipments will not exceed 20,000 tonnes in 2009-2010 due to the limited cattle supply.

In addition, only a few low domestically demanded cuts are currently allowed for export by the government, restricting carcase usage.

Furthermore, the Secretary for Domestic Trade maintains strict export controls and allows an extremely limited number of packers (which supply cheap beef to the domestic market) to export. Some packers (mainly export oriented) have temporarily ceased operations as high cattle prices, an almost total export ban and limited domestic trade have made operations unprofitable.

The Hilton Quota is a quota of high quality, high value boneless beef cuts that the European Union assigns annually to meat producing and exporting countries.

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