Brazil to set a new global record for beef exports
This year, Brazil is expected to set a new global record for beef exports. USDA foresees that Brazilian beef exports will surpass 2.5 million tonnes carcase weight equivalent (cwe), which would account for approximately 24% of global beef exports. Looking ahead to 2021, Brazilian beef exports are expected to lift a further 8% to reach 2.7 million tonnes cwe.
China is the main market for Brazilian beef and strong demand is expected to continue as the Asian country faces an animal protein deficit due to the ASF crisis. For the year-to-August, 530,000 tonnes swt of beef has been shipped to China, up a staggering 145% on 2019 to account for 48% of all Brazilian beef exports, according to MLA. However, other major export markets have also increased their imports of Brazilian beef, including Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Singapore.
Due to reduced slaughter levels, cattle prices in Brazil have been stronger than historical levels, with producers now looking to bolster their cattle numbers coming into 2021. A number of production factors are fuelling optimism, particularly stable feed costs. In 2021, the USDA predicts Brazilian beef production to be 10.5 million tonnes carcase weight (cwt), an increase of 4.1% on 2020.
A number of government programs (estimated at $1.1 billion in value) are supporting cattle productivity gains, such as subsidies for pasture improvement, crossbreeding programs using imported cattle genetics, the acquisition of high-quality seed stock and the increasing use of reproductive technologies. As a result of these programs, carcase weights have been improving.