Brazil Consolidates World’s Beef Leadership and Plans 5% Growth in 2006

The president of the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec), Marcus VinÀ­cius Pratini de Moraes, bets on an increase in sales of cattle beef to emerging markets, especially the Arab countries, in 2006.

"The demand for raw materials and foods is growing in emerging markets. As income rises, consumption rises," he said.

According to Pratini, this year a sale was made to Iraq, a country that, in recent years, had no participation in the Brazilian cattle beef trade basket. "The export was through Jordan," he said. The executive also stated that the tendency for 2006 is to proceed with sales to the Arab countries.

Currently, Egypt is the second main importer of Brazilian cattle beef. The Arab country imported US$ 223.8 million in the first eleven months of this year, which represented an increase of 49.5% when compared to the same period last year. Shipment totaled 192,600 tons, 25.7% more than from January to November 2004. The Arab country was only behind Russia, which imported 414,800 tons.

Apart from Egypt, Algeria is another Arab country that is prominent as one of the emerging markets for exports of Brazilian cattle beef.

From January to November this year, shipments totaled 61,400 tons of the product, which represented a growth of 23% when compared to the same period last year. Exports to Algeria totaled US$ 75.3 million.

Brazil exports cattle beef to 174 countries. Among the Arab countries the destinations are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon as well as Egypt and Algeria.

Export Records

Up to the end of the month of December, Pratini forecasts cattle beef exports of US$ 3.1 billion, representing a growth of 26% when compared to last year. Foreign sales of the product have already broken a new record, reaching US$ 3 billion up to December 18. Shipments totaled 2.29 million tons in the first months of 2005. With these results, Brazil is still a world leader in terms of cattle beef export volume.

"Despite foot and mouth disease, Brazil has broken export records," stated Pratini, referring to the disease that affected Brazilian cattle in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul this year and caused embargoes to import of the product in 50 countries.

According to Pratini, the largest problem for Brazilian agribusiness exports is the exchange rate. "Agribusiness is one of the sectors most affected by depreciated exchange rates," he said. "Now, our objective is to increase sales of greater added value products," he added.

Perspectives for 2006 are that there should be an increase of between 15% and 20% in cattle beef export revenues. With regard to volumes shipped, Pratini believes that they should grow between 5% and 10%.

With the growth of Brazilian cattle beef exports, which rose from US$ 1 billion in 2003 to over US$ 3 billion in 2005, meatpacking plants increased their number of employees. In 2003, the sector employed 31,500 people, and in November this year, the total was 80,000.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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