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Brazilians Are Eating an Extra Two Pounds of Beef a Year

Cow meat in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil Twenty seven percent of Brazilian beef exports are consumed by the Russians, followed by the Europeans of the EU, who are responsible for 19% of Brazil's beef exports. Arabs come in a close third place, importing 17% of the product. Foreign sales of beef generated US$ 4.1 billion between January and November, an increase of 13.85% in comparison with the same period last year.

The figures were disclosed Monday, December 10, by the president of the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec), Marcus Viní­cius Pratini de Moraes.

According to Pratini, the markets in the Middle East, like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, are starting to import nobler meats, as is the case with the European Union. According to him, as a whole, Brazil is exporting greater added value products, a fact that, aligned to demand, caused the price of Brazilian beef to rise 12.6% on the foreign market this year.

This is so true that the volume shipped has grown less than revenues. From January to November, exports have totaled 2.37 million tons, 8% more than in the same period last year.

"If the price had not risen we would not have been able to survive the weaker dollar," he said, referring to the great appreciation of the real against the dollar in recent years. "And the market is accepting the higher prices, even developing countries, whose economies are growing more and where consumption may grow further," he said.

To Pratini, Brazil cannot be "eternally an exporter of commodities with prices established abroad". "We have to appreciate our products, offer more and more differentiated products, like chilled meats and nobler cuts, like fillet, sirloin and rump," he pointed out.

And demand is also strong on the domestic market. According to Pratini, this year Brazilian consumption has risen on average one kilogram (about two pounds) per inhabitant, being 75% of the national production consumed by Brazilians. "The main asset of the Brazilian society is the Brazilian market itself," he said.

The Arabs are among the main consumers of raw beef, industrialized beef and its by-products. Egypt is the second main importer of the raw product and purchased the equivalent to US$ 318 million from January to November, a 6.5% reduction over the same period in 2006.

Purchases by Algeria totaled US$ 95 million – an increase of 1.32% – and by Saudi Arabia, they reached US$ 84.3 million, 13.6% more than in the first 11 months of last year. Algeria and Saudi Arabia are, respectively, in the 9th and 10th positions among the main importers of raw beef.

In the case of industrialized beef, Egypt is in the 9th position, with imports of US$ 8.2 million, up 12.7%. The United Arab Emirates are in the 14th position, with purchases of US$ 5.2 million, a reduction of 13.86%, and Saudi Arabia is in the 15th position, with purchases of US$ 5.19 million – up 1%.

With regard to cattle by-products, Egypt was the 6th main buyer, with purchases of US$ 5.1 million, 4.1% greater than the purchases in the same period in 2006, and Saudi Arabia is in the 15th position, with imports of US$ 1.4 million, an increase of 8.5%.

Other highlights presented by Pratini were the end of the embargo imposed by Russia on beef from the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina, Goiás, São Paulo and the southern region of Pará, the warming up of the Cuban market, which already registers annual imports of US$ 22.5 million in industrialized cattle beef and where negotiations are taking place for the opening of the market for the raw product as well as the expansion of companies able to export to Malaysia.

According to the president of Abiec, Malaysia may serve as a base to other Asian nations, as there is great tourist movement there. "And tourists like eating beef," he said.

Apart from that, the implementation of a sanitary agreement is being negotiated between Brazil and China, and several Brazilian companies are acquiring slaughterhouses abroad, which permits access to markets like the US, which is closed to the export of raw Brazilian beef.

According to Pratini, sector exports should reach US$ 4.45 billion up to the end of the year, and in 2008 the forecast is for the value to be between US$ 4.9 billion and US$ 5.1 billion.

"Brazil supplies one third of the beef traded on the foreign market, and is the main exporter in terms of volume and revenues," he said. Beef from the country supplies 182 markets.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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