October 5, 2006


Argentina's beef exports soar as cuts ease


Argentina exported 47,112 tonnes of beef in August, up sharply from the 34,253 tonnes shipped in July, and close to the 50,446 tonnes shipped in the same month last year, according to the animal and food-inspection agency, Senasa.


In terms of income, this higher export meant a total of US$138.7 million, up from US$117.8 million a year earlier. This 18-point increase is a major achievement as the country was forced to export higher-grade beef cuts in the face of government's export limits.


In March this year, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner banned almost all beef exports to control domestic inflation. This ban was later eased in May which set exports from June through November at 40 percent of shipments during the same period last year.


Only last week, the government further eased export limits and lifted the quota on frozen and refrigerated cuts to 70 percent of last year's levels while exempting top-dollar rump cuts, Hilton quota cuts, cooked beef and exports based on bilateral agreements with Venezuela and Morocco.


The USDA earlier estimated that Argentine producers were exporting 65 to 70 percent of their potential.

Argentina's top meat exports include fresh beef, chilled boneless cuts, frozen boneless cuts, processed cooked beef and other bovine innards, according to Senasa.


Argentina's imports from its two major players Russia and Germany stood at US$211.9 million and US$144.2 million during the first eight months of the year.


The imports might further go up with even Singapore, Chile, Uruguay and Angola showing an interest in re-opening their markets to Argentine beef. Imports from these countries earlier froze in the wake of foot-and-mouth disease detected in cattle stocks in the northern province of Corrientes.