Brazilian beef production increases as exports continue to flourish

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

In the first quarter of 2022 Brazil slaughtered a total of 6.96 million head of cattle, a 6% increase (+362,000 head) compared to 2021. The year-on-year increase in slaughter has driven beef production to increase 6% (+105,000 tonnes) to 1.84 million tonnes.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef, exporting a total of 469,000 tonnes of fresh and frozen beef in Q1 2022 an increase of 37% (+126,000 tonnes) from Q1 2021. China is the main market for Brazilian beef, receiving over half its total exports. Although China put an embargo on Brazilian beef imports in the last quarter of 2021 (when two cases of mad cow disease were detected), the restrictions have now been lifted and Chinese imports have seen 30% year on year growth.

The US and Egypt take a 9% market share each and have both seen significant growth in the past 12 months. The US has increased its imports from 5,400 tonnes in Q1 2021 to 43,200 tonnes this year. Similarly, Egypt has gone from 8,800 tonnes in Q1 2021 to 41,800 tonnes in 2022. The growth in these two markets is new, with imports only ramping up in late Q4 2021 after China had banned Brazilian beef. However, Q1 data shows that despite China now accepting Brazilian beef neither the US nor Egyptian markets has suffered with Brazil having plentiful supplies.

Unfortunately, Brazilian beef exports currently fill the majority of the tariff-free quota into the US that UK exporters had begun using, making it a challenge to gain further trade growth in the US market.

pie chart showing the key importers of Brazilian beef by tonne

Image of staff member Freya Shuttleworth

Freya Shuttleworth

Senior Analyst (Livestock)

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