Brazil's beef exports should return to normal levels between April and May as the country's efforts to reverse import bans have started to bear fruit in the wake of a food safety scandal that surfaced last month, industry group Abrafrigo said.
In March, Brazil exported 124,880 tons of fresh and processed beef products, an 8% drop from the same month a year ago. These exports generated US$489 million in revenue, a 3% drop, Abrafrigo said after compiling government data released earlier this week.
As Brazil's main clients resume purchases from Brazil, shipments will return to levels close to normality between April and May, the statement said.
Last month, a bribery investigation of health inspectors implicated meatpackers including BRF SA and JBS SA, prompting foreign markets including China and Hong Kong to ban Brazil's meat products temporarily.
Police have accused more than 100 people, mostly inspectors, of taking bribes in exchange for allowing the sale of rancid products, falsifying export documents or failing to inspect meatpacking plants.
Despite last month's temporary ban, China remained Brazil's largest beef importer as it continued to step up direct purchases of the country's meat products in lieu of buying through Hong Kong-based intermediaries, Abrafrigo said.
China increased its volume of beef imports from Brazil by 48% to 52,855 tons in the first three months of 2017, but Hong Kong's imports fell nearly 24% in the period, Abrafrigo said. Total beef exports in the quarter generated US$1.3 billion in sales, a 3% drop, Abrafrigo said.