Argentina's beef exports see sharp rise

The amount of beef exported from Argentina rose sharply in August compared to the quantity shipped in July according to the animal and food inspection agency, Senasa.

Figures reveal August exports totalled 47,112 t while the figure for July was recorded at 34,253 t, close to the 50,446 t shipped in August 2005. Measured in dollars, August exports totalled $138.7 m up from $117.8 m a year earlier.

Due to the export limit set in March this year set by Argentine president Nestor Kirchner, the country has been exporting higher-priced cuts. Kirchner banned almost all beef exports to prevent soaring domestic and international demand from pushing beef prices up, but eased the ban in May, setting exports from June through November at 40% of shipments during the same period last year. The government further relaxed the export limits last week, lifting the quota on frozen and refrigerated cuts to 70% of 2005 levels.

However, there are exemptions including premium rump cuts, Hilton Quota cuts, cooked beef and exports based on bilateral agreements with Venezuela and Morocco.

According to Senasa Argentina's top meat exports include fresh beef, chilled boneless cuts, frozen boneless cuts, processed cooked beef and other bovine innards. Russia is Argentina's largest market for beef products, with imports reaching $211.9 m during the first eight months of the year. Germany imported $144.2 m.

In recent weeks, Singapore, Chile, Uruguay and Angola announced the re-opening of their markets to Argentine beef. The countries froze imports of Argentine fresh meat in February after foot-and-mouth disease was detected in cattle stocks in the northern province of Corrientes.