Brazilian Beef Exports Decline

Brazilian beef exports fell last year for the first time in a decade and a further reduction is forecast for 2009, Bord Bia has predicted.

According to a report released by the food marketing body, the volume of beef exported by Brazil will fall to 2.08m tonnes this year, back from a peak of 2.49m tonnes in 2007.

The fall-off in Brazilian exports is attributed to changes in both production and consumption within the country.

It is estimated that production peaked at around 9.6m tonnes in 2006; however, domestic consumption rose to 6.25m tonnes in 2008. This is up from 4.8m tonnes a decade ago and now accounts for 80pc of production.

The Brazilian beef herd has also reduced in size. Numbers reached a high of 180m head in 2007 but the herd is not expected to hit that level again until mid 2010 at the earliest.

The reduced availability of trade finance, together with slowing demand for meat globally, has also hit the sector. Beef companies Independencia and Arantes have defaulted on debt payments and filed for credit protection recently. Brazil’s No. 2 beef exporter, Bertin, could be next, according to Moody’s.