The South America Cattle Report for February 8, 2017

By Patrick Archer and Ing. Agr. Eduardo Blasina

MONTEVIDEO – In this week’s South America Cattle Report, Argentina expedites beef shipments to the EU, Brazil meatpackers prep for Russian approval, Paraguay’s quest to be the China of Brazil, and Uruguay’s best January slaughter in eight years.

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Uruguay Cattle Market Prices

The Uruguay fat cattle market is fatter and happier this week with January’s positive supply/demand trend now carrying through into February. Demand among meatpackers is firm especially for steers, prices are rising, and supply lines are shortening.

The Cattle Brokers Association (ACG) weekly reference price for steers is currently between US$2.90 and US$2.95 per kilo on-the-hook (cuarta balanza), while the heaviest heifers are fetching between US$2.60 and US$2.65 per kilo for animals with carcass weight between 220 and 230 kilos. Supply lines at most plants nationwide are running 7 days or less.

Facundo Schauricht tells FarmsUY co-founder Eduardo Blasina that weekly slaughter was down 1% but remained high reaching almost 49,000 head. “Last week’s slaughter was primarily deals that closed 10 to 15 days ago, so supply is lower. As a result the industry is getting stretched a bit more and prices are a few cents higher,” says Schauricht in a radio interview Tuesday with Blasina on Radio Rural 610’s Tiempo de Cambio.

In their weekly report, the Cattle Brokers Association (ACG) showed the largest week-over-week price increases for special steers, up 1.1% to US$2.79 per kilo, and special heifers, up 1.1% to US$2.67 per kilo. Average prices for other categories were unchanged from a week ago.

In the mercado ovino, the ACG considers the market stable with few plants operating. The weekly reference price for sheep US$2.72 per kilo, and the average price for heavy lambs over 35 kilos is US$3.23 per kilo.

Uruguay Weekly Slaughter Activity

Total weekly cattle slaughter for the week ended February 3 was 48,790 head, or 1% lower than the week prior but an impressive 9% higher than the same week in 2016.

Heifers accounted for 51.5% of the weekly total reaching 25,126 head which is 4.4% more than the week prior and 7% more than the same week last year. The total number of steers fell 6% last week to 22,733 head or 12% below the same week in 2016.

Weekly cattle slaughter activity by plant was led by Frigorifico Las Piedras with 3,811 head followed by Frigorifico Tacuarembó with 3,794 animals and Canelones with 3,658 head. Among all plants, Las Piedras processed the most steers (2,537), and Tacuarembó handled the most heifers (2,545).

Weekly sheep slaughter fell 1.2% to 18,930 animals, or 88% more than the same week last year. Las Piedras was once again the Uruguay plant processing the most sheep (5,057) followed by San Jacinto-Nirea (5,056) and Frigocerro (2,656) rounding out the top three.

Uruguay Meat Export Prices

For the week ended January 28, the National Meat Institute (INAC) weekly reference price for Uruguay beef exports rose 14% to US$3,651 per ton. The four-week moving average price of Uruguay beef exports is now US$3,422 per ton or 5% lower than the same time last year.

For the same week, the National Meat Institute (INAC) weekly reference price for Uruguay sheepmeat exports fell 29% to US$3,499 per ton. The four-week moving average price of Uruguay sheepmeat is now US$4,252 per ton or 0.3% higher than this time last year. (Blasina & Associates)

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US$1 = 3.1202 BRL

Russian Mission Coming to Approve More Brazil Meatpackers

This week a Russian trade mission was confirmed for March to approve more Brazil meatpackers for meat exports. Russia is already one of the most important buyers of beef from the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso. In 2016 alone, Mato Grosso plants exported 28,200 tons of beef to Russia.

The upcoming visit by the Russian delegation was announced by Ministry of Agriculture executive secretary Eumar Novacki during his visit to Moscow last week. During his meetings with Russian authorities, conversations advanced regarding the increased export of Brazilian dairy products, pork and poultry to Russia and the import of more Russian fertilizers in Brazil.

In another meeting with Russian Vice-Minister of Agriculture Evgeny Gromyki, Novacki expressed Brazil’s interest in importing wheat from Russia. The topic was added to the agenda for the upcoming meeting of the Russia-Brazil Intergovernmental Commission in Brasilia. (Olhar Direto)

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US$1 = 15.6928 ARS

Argentina Expedites Beef Exports to the European Union

This week the government of Argentina began the process of expediting the customs procedures and hurdles for exporting beef to the European Union while still maintaining the high quality standards the EU demands.

The Ministry of Agroindustry and the National Service for Food Safety and Quality (SENASA) developed a new process which should expedite the process for Argentina beef producers by “simplifying and facilitating” the procedures and offering “greater guarantees” of the sanitary standards the European community requires.

Between January and October of 2016, Argentina beef exports to the EU reached 193,000 tons, a 10% increase over the same ten-month period in 2015, with a total value of US$847 million or US$4,388 per ton on average.

According to official data for the month of December, the top destinations for Argentina fresh beef exports were China (40%), Chile (19%), Israel (17%), and Russia (8%).

For the same month, the top five markets for Argentina processed beef were Italy (27%), Bolivia (24%), Paraguay (15%), the United Kingdom (12%), and Brazil (12%). (Finanzas.com)

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US$1 = 5,760.31 PYG

Brazilian Press Lauds Paraguay As Regional Success Story

The leading newspaper in Brazil in terms of circulation has singled out neighboring Paraguay for its recent economic growth and transformation from being just a mere food exporter.

“With Above Average Growth, Paraguay Becomes A Regional Success” is the headline of the positive article in Folha de São Paulo. While other economies in the region have been growing at 2% per year, Paraguay has been growing between 3% and 4% annually, notes the Folha analysis.

The article points to two factors that have helped facilitate the transformation: industrial investment especially in manufacturing and the opening of the national meat industry to foreign investors. In recent years, Paraguay has invested more than Argentina and Uruguay in its meat sector and regionally ranks second behind Brazil in terms of new investment.

In a separate interview, Paraguay’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Gustavo Leite, told Folha that Paraguay wants to become “the China of Brazil” alluding to the possibility that Paraguay could become the new provider of cheap products to Brazil, because it costs less to produce these goods in Paraguay than to import them from China. (Hoy)

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US$1 = 28.4770 UYU

Uruguay Hopes To Double Beef Exports to Russia

Uruguay could double beef exports to Russia in the second half of the year thanks to a high-quality beef protocol approved in late 2015.  The measure will allow Uruguay to export prime cuts to Russia from Uruguay grass-fed or grain-finished animals for a 15% tariff.

Russia was one of the top purchasers of Uruguay beef between 2004 and 2011, but the economy began to decline with the collapse of oil prices and the devaluation of the ruble. Now that the ruble is regaining strength (USD:RUB 2Yr. Chart), beef exports are expected to rise.

Uruguay and other South American beef exporters are all looking to close deals at this week’s 24th annual Prodexpo in Moscow, the most important food and beverage expo in Russia. Uruguay’s booth at this year’s Prodexpo is a 2,100 square foot, two-story showcase with two VIP rooms for meetings with Russian clients. (INAC)

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