Brazilian beef sales to all Arab countries were up 47.62%. The UAE has imported 51,000 tonnes of Brazilian beef in January-June this year (2019) compared to 9,400 tonnes in the first 6 months of 2018. Exports to Arab countries represented 19.5% of total Brazilian beef exports, up from 15.9% in the first half of 2018.
“The increase of sales to Arab countries, including the UAE is related to the well-established Halal slaughter practice in Brazil and the low exchange rate,” Thiago Bernardino de Carvalho, livestock researcher at Brazil’s University of São Paulo Center for Advanced Studies on Applied Economics told Global Meat News.
The Brazilian Real (BRL) has fallen 11% against the US dollar since the start of 2018 and over 25% since the start of 2015. Similar falls have occurred against other currencies, for instance the UAE Dirham (AED) – BRL bought AED1.18 in September, now it buys AED0.97 - lowering the price of Brazil’s exports.
“Brazil has one of the world’s lowest production costs for beef, which, with the high volume available, results in high competitiveness in export,” he added. “Moreover, Nelore beef [produced widely in Brazil], which is leaner compared to European beef, attracts many consumers in the Arab World.”
Brazil has a herd of over 215 million cows, some 80% of which are pure-bred or hybrid Nelore.
“In addition to the relatively low price for Brazilian beef, the increase in demand from the UAE is due to Australia’s lower supply capacity as a result of drought and floods,” said Tamer Mansour, secretary general of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce.
“The UAE is traditionally a hub for re-exporting Brazilian beef and reprocessing it into other value-added products,” he told Global Meat News.
The increase is particularly impressive given the March 2017 meat health scandal that hit Brazil, sparking a temporary import ban in several countries, including the UAE. In the second half of 2017, however, exports increased again, reaching a record high in 2018.
And Brazil’s poultry exports to the UAE have also been increasing. They grew by 35.7% year-on-year in the 12 months to this June (2019), reaching 192,000 tonnes, according to the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA - Associação Brasileira de Proteína Animal). The UAE is Brazil’s fourth largest poultry export destination behind China, Saudi Arabia and Japan.
Total Brazilian poultry exports increased by 11.4% in January-June of this year to reach two million tonnes, while revenues recorded a 14.8% growth to US$3.4bn. Up to 60% of chicken exports are cuts, while some 32% are whole chickens. The remainder is processed chicken.