The South America Cattle Report for January 4, 2017

By Patrick Archer and Eduardo Blasina

MONTEVIDEO The Uruguay cattle market begins the first week of 2017 with an invigorated supply situation and rising demand for animals. Supply lines at most meatpackers nationwide have been depleted to less than a week thanks to the recent kosher slaughter.

Uruguay Cattle Market Prices

Those producers with animals to sell this week are getting a few cents more than we saw in the closing weeks of 2016. Today the axis for Uruguay steer prices is US$2.85 per kilo carcass weight and up to US$2.90 for the finest animals, while the average price for heifers is now US$2.65 per kilo with a maximum price of US$2.70 per kilo. Meanwhile, some producers are still holding out for the US$3.00 price per kilo level for steers.

The Uruguay Cattle Brokers Association (ACG) reference price for steers rose 2.14% to US$2.87 per kilo, and the reference price for heifers rose 3.17% to US$2.60 per kilo. In the sheep market, the ACG reference price for sheep rose four cents to US$2.87 per kilo, and the price for heavy lambs was unchanged at US$3.40 per kilo.

Uruguay Weekly Slaughter Activity

Weekly cattle slaughter closed out 2016 at levels we had not seen since 2010 with weekly slaughter numbers surging above 50,000 head on several occasions.

With the traditional year-end holidays, plant activity cooled last week and total weekly cattle slaughter finished at 36,893 head, a 23% decline from the week prior but 37% higher than the same week last year.

Total heifer slaughter fell 18% from the previous week to 19,713 head, and total steer slaughter fell 28% to 16,300 head. Heifers represented more than 50% of the total (53.4%) for the second-consecutive week.

Weekly sheep slaughter fell 27% to 30,602 animals, or 27% more than the same week last year. Weekly lamb slaughter also slipped 27% to 25,078 head, or 35% more than one year ago.

Uruguay 2016 Total Slaughter Activity

Total Uruguay cattle slaughter for 2016 was 2.26 million animals which was the highest total slaughter recorded since 2009. In 2016, steers represented 47.7% of the total slaughter down from 49% in 2015. Heifers accounted for 50.2% of the 2016 total, up from 49% in 2015.

2016 marked the highest heifer slaughter total (1.14 million head) since 2010, while the steer total of 1.081 million head was consistent with what he have seen every year since 2011.

Total Uruguay sheep slaughter for 2016 fell to the lowest level in eleven years. 2016 sheep slaughter fell 5% compared to 2015 and 49% compared to 2013 when Uruguay posted the highest sheep total of the last five years. Lambs accounted for 64% of the total which was 4% more than last year, and sheep accounted for 18% of the total or 5% less than 2015.

Uruguay Meat Export Prices

For the week ended December 24, the National Meat Institute (INAC) weekly reference price for Uruguay beef exports finished at US$3,352 per ton. The average beef export price accumulated year-to-date for 2016 finished at US$3,397 per ton or 10.3% below the average price one year ago.

For the same week, the National Meat Institute (INAC) weekly reference price for Uruguay sheepmeat exports closed at US$3,935 per ton. The average sheepmeat export price accumulated year-to-date for 2016 finished at US$4,190 per ton or 9.3% below than the average price one year ago. (Blasina & Associates)

Brazil Fresh Beef Exports Up 15% in December

Brazil exports of fresh beef (carne bovina in natura) rose 15% in December over the previous month, according to new numbers out Monday from the Brazilian Association of Meat Exporting Industries (ABIEC).

Brazil exported a total of 87,200 tons of fresh beef in December, and China was the number one destination accounting for 15,000 tons of the exported total. The other four countries rounding out Brazil’s fresh beef Top 5 for December were Hong Kong (13,700 tons), Iran (12,100 tons), Russia (12,000) and Chile (8,200 tons).

Brazil’s total fresh beef export revenue was US$366 million for the month of December with China accounting for US$63.2 million of the total. (Portal DBO)

In related news, Brazil’s Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services says total revenue from Brazil fresh beef sales slipped 6.8% in 2016 to around US$4.3 billion. The decline was anticipated by the industry considering lower demand from key markets for Brazilian fresh beef exports including Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Egypt. ( El País)

Argentina To Market Premium Angus Burgers

Argentina Angus beef, which has long enjoyed premium positioning in Argentina restaurants and among foreign meat exports, will soon be promoted with premium hamburgers in local supermarkets.

On Monday, the Argentina Angus Association (AAA) signed a deal with local meatpacker, Compañia Procesadora de Carnes, to begin the marketing and promotion of Premium hamburgers made from certified Angus steers selected by AAA inspectors at the plants.

“Angus Certified meat is a guarantee of quality, and for that reason we want to extend this option to Argentine consumers who can now find our premium hamburgers. This also represents an excellent sales opportunity for local Angus steer producers, said AAA president Alfredo Gusman.

The Certified Angus Meat Program (PCAC) is a certification protocol with international recognition. Meat is certified annually for both the domestic market and for export. In the case of the export market, the program offers economic benefits for Angus meat producers like the Hilton export quota.

The Angus race accounts for approximately 53% of all Argentina cattle stock which is a testament to the breed’s production potential and adaptability to the different climate conditions in Argentina. (AgriTotal)

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