DECLINE IN BRAZILIAN CATTLE PROCESSING COULD HELP NEW ZEALAND BEEF

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An analysis by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the farmer-owned organisation representing the country’s sheep and beef farmers, suggests that a global shortage of beef could be a trigger for lifting New Zealand beef prices.

According to the group’s senior agricultural analyst Rachel Agnew, China’s demand for beef soared during 2020 and 40% of it came from Brazil, the world’s biggest beef exporter. However, with almost half of all Brazilian beef processing plants currently temporarily closed, an unexpected opportunity has arisen to bridge the gap.

“Chinese demand for beef remains very high,” said Agnew. “That is partly as a result of the huge Covid-19 stimulus package from the Chinese government, but also due to the protein shortage caused by the impacts of African Swine Fever on Chinese pork production.”

She added: “The real opportunity is that our exports will be going to a global market that is short of beef. China is also likely to be in competition with the US for beef imports, and once you get that, you get better prices.” This would help to offset shipping costs, which have doubled in a year, and the high NZ dollar.

China’s beef imports from Brazil increased 112% in 2020 and the share of Brazilian beef exports going to China hit 62%, up from 38% in 2017. Australia accounted for 12% of China’s beef imports with New Zealand at 8%.

DECLINE IN BRAZILIAN CATTLE PROCESSING COULD HELP NEW ZEALAND BEEF
Chinese imports of pork and beef both surged in 2020.
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