Despite the problems involving hoof and mouth disease, Brazilian beef retained first place in world beef exports in 2005. 2.3 million tons of the product were shipped to 150 countries.
Export volume was 18% more than in 2004, and earnings totaled US$ 3.149 billion, 22.4% more than in 2004. This was an all-time record for the sector, according to the results announced by the Brazilian Association of Meat Export Industries (ABIEC).
ABIEC’s executive director, Antônio Jorge Camardelli, confessed that the sector expected the results to be slightly better. "We believed our earnings would amount to around US$ 250 million more than what we obtained."
In Camardelli’s view, the performance would have been better, had it not been for a series of difficulties, not limited to the outbreaks of hoof and mouth disease. Camardelli also mentioned the impact of the dollar, which fluctuated in a manner unfavorable to exports.
The biggest sales of fresh beef went to Russia, for a total of 433 thousand tons and earnings of US$ 525 million. Egypt provided the second largest market (215.3 thousand tons and US$ 252 million), followed by Holland (US$ 191 million), the United Kingdom (US$ 181 million), and Italy (US$ 152 million).
In terms of processed meat, the biggest importer was the United States, which spent US$ 205 million, followed by the United Kingdom (US$ 130 million), Venezuela (US$ 47 million), and Italy (US$ 31 million).
Belgium was among the countries to which Brazilian sales of processed meat grew the most. Brazilian beef exports to Belgium were up 163%, to US$ 12 million.