Brazil beef exports drop to lowest in years

Shipments to China halted for one month
calendar icon 10 May 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

The volume of beef Brazil exported in April was the lowest since November 2021, when shipments to China – the top destination for the Brazilian product – were halted, according to a report from Brazil's Center for Advanced Studies in Economics (CEPEA).

According to data from the Foreign Trade Secretariat (SECEX), Brazil exported a slight 110.34 thousand tons of in natura beef in April, 11.32% less than that shipped in March and a steep 30% down from that in April last year. This is also the lowest amount exported in April since 2019, when the Chinese demand for the Brazilian beef began to rise high – in April/19, Brazil shipped 109.8 thousand tons of beef to China.

Between January and April, Brazil exported 521.42 thousand tons of in natura beef, 17% less than that from the same period last year but still 11.24% up from that in the first four months of 2021, according to Secex. Thus, despite the decrease last month, the exports performance in the first four months of 2023 is the second highest in all times, considering the same period of previous years.

The low volume exported in April is a reflex of the suspension of shipments to China, which lasted for a month (between Feb/23 and Mar23). Recently, news agencies have indicated that China announced import clearance for the Brazilian beef stocked and produced before February 21st, however, it did not allow the delivery of loads shipped after February 23.

This means that many slaughterers may still have beef in stock. This context led buyers to reduce purchases for slaughter, putting pressure on cattle quotations. Also, the increase in the supply of slaughter cattle is pressing down values, majorly at this time of the year, when pastures begin to deteriorate because of the weather.

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