May 7, 2004



Argentina's First Quarter Beef Exports Up 37%, Total $204 Million

Argentina exported $204 million worth of beef in the first quarter of 2004, the country's animal- and food-inspection agency, Senasa, reported Wednesday.

Argentina shipped 93,591 metric tons of beef - including fresh beef, chilled boneless cuts, frozen boneless cuts, processed cooked beef and related bovine innards - to more than 60 countries.

This puts the volume of exports up 37% from the same quarter a year ago, according to Senasa. As measured in dollars, this is a 57% increase over sales from a year ago.

In the January-March period, Argentina shipped 8,281 tons of beef - worth $54 million - to the European Union under the Hilton Import quota program.

Non-Hilton-related chilled and frozen fresh beef shipments totaled 46,917 tons, or $93.8 million.

As usual, Germany was the biggest buyer of Hilton cuts, accounting for 5,066 tons. Next was Great Britain, which bought 1,213 tons, Holland with 1,061 tons and Italy with 584 tons.

Israel was the biggest buyer of fresh beef, accounting for 12,102 tons - worth $22 million - during the first three months of 2004.

Meanwhile, Argentina sold 13,593 tons of processed beef for a total value amount of almost $35 million.

The main buyer of processed beef was the U.S., accounting for 5,854 tons.

The U.S. has kept a ban on fresh Argentine beef since early 2001, when Argentina belatedly admitted to a widespread outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

Argentina exported 332,011 tons of beef in 2000, the last normal export year before the country admitted to problems with foot-and-mouth disease.

In 2003, Argentina's beef exports rose to 379,366 tons, or $694 million, according to Senasa.

Argentina will export between 400,000 and 420,000 tons of beef in 2004, according to Agriculture Secretariat estimates.