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AHDB European Market Survey

22 June 2012

AHDB European Market Survey - 22 June 2012AHDB European Market Survey - 22 June 2012

In contrast to other meats, beef production has fallen in recent years. From a high point of 242,000 tonnes in 2007, Chilean beef production in 2011 was 191,000 tonnes.


Chilean beef production falls

In contrast to other meats, beef production has fallen in recent years. From a high point of 242,000 tonnes in 2007, Chi lean beef production in 2011 was 191,000 tonnes. This represents a fall of 21 per cent over the five years and a nine per cent reduction on 2010 levels. This has mainly been the result of a considerable decline in cattle slaughterings. At 725,000 head for 2011, the cattle kill has fallen by over a quarter from the recent peak of 1.0 million head in 2008 and was 12 per cent lower than 2010 levels.

This decline appears to have been arrested in 2012, with figures for the first quarter showing a six per cent increase in the number of cattle slaughtered. This has translated into beef production being five per cent higher than year earlier levels as carcase weights were evidently lower.

Unlike in other meats, Chile is a net importer of beef with export volumes comparatively small. At 4,000 tonnes, beef exports for 2011 were down almost a fifth on 2010 levels. Trade with the EU accounted for 44 per cent of the total in 2011 with shipments of 1,800 tonnes. Chile has an autonomous tariff quota with the EU under which product is free of customs duty. This quota totalled 1,850 tonnes in 2011/12 and increases by 100 tonnes each year.

Beef imports in 2011 totalled 126,600 tonnes, a decline of five per cent on 2010 levels. This decline was largely the result of the ban on imports from Paraguay in the final quarter of the year due to the FMD outbreak. Despite this Paraguay remained the largest supplier accounting for 35 per cent of volumes, though this was down from the 60 per cent market share in 2010. Shipments from Paraguay so far this year have continued to fall, down almost six per cent in the first quarter. Total imports for the first quarter of 2012 were up seven per cent, with other suppliers all increasing shipments to offset the lack of product from Paraguay. Brazil has been the main beneficiary with volumes more than trebling and accounting for almost half of imports, compared with 14 per cent in the same period of 2011.

The increased farmgate prices for cattle globally have also been evident in Chile. The average liveweight price for finished steers in 2011 was US$2.19 per kg, a 23 per cent increase on 2010 levels. Latest prices show that this trend has continued into 2012 with the average price for April four per cent above the level recorded in the same month of 2011.

The importance of the meat sector within the EU

In an address to the World Meat Congress on the importance of the meat sector, the EU Commissioner to Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Ciolo?, identified the livestock-farming sector as being high on the Commission’s agenda, and not just in the context of discussions on the future of the CAP. The address spoke of the significance of the sector to farming in vulnerable areas, and the challenge of food security while respecting the strong cultural identities linked to meat production and the environment.

According to the Commissioner, Europe is a ‘trailblazer’ on the issues of animal welfare and environmental standards, reflecting the expectations of society as a whole but coming at a cost to the producer. Although these issues are not sufficiently taken into account in international negotiations, they have been raised at the World Organisation for Animal Health. The reform of the CAP has an important role in overcoming the challenges of the sector and to assist in its further development. A full copy of the address is available at:

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