Anxiety is growing in the Brazilian beef industry, as China is not giving any indication on when the trade of beef might be resumed.

Exports were suspended by Brazil following the discovery of two atypical BSE cases on 4 September and there was confidence that the issue would be quickly resolved and trade would resume, as had been the case when a BSE case was discovered previously in 2019.

Back then, exports resumed after just two weeks, but now almost a month has passed, with no indication of when they will get going again.

This a growing worry for the major beef exporters, many of whom have stocks built and customers in China uncertain about supply coming into the peak buying season for beef in the buildup to the Chinese new year on 1 February.

It is also depressing what had been a strong Brazilian beef price, which has now dropped to BRL19.2/kg (€3.03/kg), the lowest level in several months, having been close to €3.50/kg in June.

JBS in spotlight

JBS, the world’s largest meat company, is one of the disrupted companies and it is also working to get one of its recent acquisition announcements completed.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating the company's proposed acquisition of Rivalea, the largest pigmeat processor in Australia.

The ACCC has released its preliminary concerns and had invited submissions from interested parties up to 30 September.

The proposed acquisition is cause for concern for the ACCC, because it would mean that JBS would control three of the seven export accredited abattoirs in Australia (and three out of four in southeastern Australia), along with a significant proportion of pork processing capacity.

It has also raised concerns that JBS's strong position in the processing sector could damage smaller companies relying on third-party slaughtering services in the Diamond Valley Pork factory, one of the Rivalea factories.

Green light with Kerry acquisition

JBS has had no issues with its majority owned Pilgrim's Pride completion of Kerry’s consumer foods and meals business, as approval was granted by the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) for the deal to go ahead recently.

This gives JBS a strong presence on the island of Ireland for a wide range of well-known consumer brands, as well as Moy Park, the largest poultry processor in Britain and Ireland, which is headquartered in Northern Ireland.