Brazil beef slaughter up 11.4% in 2023

Beef exports to China hindered by atypical BSE case
calendar icon 11 January 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Fed cattle markets in Brazil were impacted by internal and external aspects in 2023, according to a recent market report from CEPEA. Production, health, climate and economic issues caused instability for all products in the supply chain. 

Fed cattle values surpassed BRL 300 per arroba (15 kg) in early February. However, in late August, it operated below BRL 200/arroba. At the end of 2023, the index returned to the BRL 250 level.

Considering the monthly series of the CEPEA/B3 Index, September's average was at BRL 214.67, the lowest since August 2012 (when it was at BRL 206.80).

According to researchers from Cepea, an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in February had a major impact on the market this year. The case resulted in the suspension of beef shipments to China. Still, the country was the major destination for the Brazilian product in 2023.

Beef exports to all destinations moved at a good pace in 2023, which helped move the country's increased supply. The number of slaughtered animals increased quarter after quarter. From January to September this year, 24.64 million animals were slaughtered, 11.4% more than in the same period of 2022 and the highest since 2014, according to data from IBGE. 

Calf and lean cattle prices declined in 2023, following the trend registered for fed cattle. However, they did not recover as verified for the ready-to-slaughter animals. Feedlot farmers say that corn price drops from the second quarter of this year on was not enough to encourage the increase in this fattening system.

Concerning the domestic beef market, demand was low in the first semester, when prices were high. However, prices rose in August, balancing out the price drops.

(BRL 1 = USD $0.20)

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