There was huge relief for Brazil’s meat industry this week, with the announcement by China that it would accept beef from Brazil that was certified for export prior to the suspension date of 4 September.
There had been huge quantities in transit when beef exports from Brazil to China were suspended, with estimates that it could have involved 100,000t of market-ready beef.
Up to the point of suspension, China had been taking just under half of all Brazil’s beef exports. Following suspension, Brazilian cattle prices fell by the equivalent of 50c/kg to the equivalent of €2.72/kg by the beginning of this month.
However, due to cattle supplies tightening and speculation increasing about a resolution with China, cattle prices in Brazil have rebounded strongly over the past two weeks.
By Tuesday of this week, they had reached the equivalent of €3.28/kg, higher than when the export suspension commenced.
There have been no signals yet on China agreeing to the suspension on exports from Brazil being lifted, but the industry is anticipating positive news in the coming days.
Irish farmers and exporters will be watching with interest as the circumstances of the Brazilian suspension are the exact same as they were for Ireland with the discovery of an atypical case of BSE in 2020.
Brazil was a higher-volume and more important beef supplier to China than Ireland but, given the similarity of circumstances, there is hope that if Brazil is cleared, Irish exports might also get the signal to resume.