The Argentinian government has announced the suspension of beef exports for 30 days because of the increasing cost of beef in the domestic market.
Argentinians are among the top beef consumers in the world with per-capita consumption of around 50kg per person annually, three times the EU average.
Argentina is the fourth largest exporter of beef in the world after Brazil, US and Australia, and the second largest supplier of imported beef to the EU and China.
It is forecast by the USDA to export approximately 750,000t carcase weight equivalent this year.
China is its main export market by a huge distance, taking 482,500t product weight in 2020, while the EU imported 72,800t product weight.
The Argentinian economy has extremely high inflation with the collapse in value of the Argentinian peso a key contributor
Argentina previously imposed export constraints in 2006, which lasted 10 years and resulted in exports dropping to below 200,000t. They were reinstated by the right of centre government elected in late 2015 that lost the 2019 election to be replaced by Socialist Alberto Fernández.
The Argentinian economy has extremely high inflation with the collapse in value of the Argentinian peso a key contributor.
If the suspension is for the 30 days, as planned, then it will have minimal impact on the global supply of beef. However, there are reports that it could be prolonged as was the case in 2006 when an original six-month plan was extended to last 10 years.
If that were to happen, it would have an impact on global beef supply and when combined with the reduction in supply from Australia lead to China, in particular, having a large supply deficit.