Market reports suggest that Argentine beef shipments to the European Union have reduced to almost zero amid the global coronavirus pandemic. Sales to China, the main buyer, have dropped below 2019 levels.
Meat shipments from the country had skyrocketed in recent years, driven mainly by demand from China, which helped the country bring its 2019 meat exports to US$3 billion.
Exports jumped 50% last year, to 845,800 tons, with China buying about three-quarters of that volume, according to official data. The European Union accounted for 9% of sales. “Due to the impact of the pandemic, export markets have cut many of their purchases and are extremely restricted,” said Mario Ravettino, president of the ABC consortium of Argentine meat exporters.
He said exports to China in March fell 15% from last year’s levels, when Argentina shipped around 50,000 tons a month to meet Chinese demand. Representatives of the Argentine meat industry say the
European market, now at the center of the pandemic, has seen an even greater collapse in demand, which has basically paralyzed exports to the region, which normally buys more expensive cuts.