Export volumes went down 10.8% to 1.097 million tonnes in 2011, but the value of shipments increased by 11.65% from $4.814bn to $5.375bn, the association added, attributing the growth to the 25.17% increase in the average price of beef exports.
Abiec president Antonio Camardelli said: “With this result, exports returned to the level of 2008.”
EU imports of Brazilian beef dropped by 10% in 2011, from 121,700t to 109,500t, hindered by the Euro crisis and the restricted number of plants allowed to sell on the European market, but value went up 21.82% to $836.3m.
Shipments to Russia, Brazil’s largest export market, fell 19.45% in 2011 to 237,500t. However, in Russia’s case the average price rise was not enough to prevent a drop in revenue, from $1.071bn to $1.060bn.
Abiec explained this decline with the Russian embargo on certain Brazilian meat plants, but said it expected export volumes to recover in 2012 with the lifting of the ban. A spokesperson for the association told GlobalMeatNews: "The Brazilian authorities keep talking with the Russians, but they are still in negotiations. Russia is today the main market for Brazilian beef. In 2011, exports to the Russian market reached US$ 1.060 billion - down 1% compared to 2010. The figures show that the impact on the Brazilian exports was not so expressive, which can be explained by the reallocation of the production from the factories that were banned to the plants that are licensed to export beef to Russia."
Exports to the US fell 6.72% to 13,000t in 2011 as a consequence of the US restrictions on vermifuge residue in meat, which is 10 times lower than in Brazil. However, the value of beef exports increased by 112% to $166.5m, due to what Abiec calls “the skyrocketing price of meat”.
"There is a negotiation between the exporters and the Brazilian government to transfer part of the current cost of testing for internal control of companies in an attempt to reduce costs. In addition, there was a change in Brazilian law regarding the use of avermectins in the cattle, which should also decrease the cost of the residue testing," the spokesperson added.
Shipments to Chile rose by 66% to reach 35,500t, helped by the country’s ban on Paraguayan meat due to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Revenue from exports to Chile grew 102.8% to $208.9m.
Abiec forecasts a 10% growth in volume and a 20% growth in revenue in 2012, based on the prospect of export recovery in Russia and a relaxation of the requirements for the European market. The Abiec spokesperson said: "The management and the responsibility concerning the publication of the Traces list (list of the farms that can export to EU) returned to Brazil. It will probably make easier the approval of new farms that can export to Europe and it should increase the supply of animals to Europe. Brazilian beef exports to Europe may increase after these measures."