Brazil’s “tight supplies” are reportedly due to the slaughtering of cows and a strong demand for beef in markets such as China, which has led companies to temporarily stop operations and furlough employees across a number of states. The price of the arroba, a measure of 15 kg of cattle used as a benchmark, rose to 315 reais (US$56.16) this week. This is a level which “only meatpackers with permits to sell beef to China can afford”, a Safras & Mercado analyst told media outlet Successful Farming.

Affected listed companies include JBS SA, Marfrig SA and Minerva SA, which supply domestic and export markets for the region.

Trade groups representing beef packers have allegedly called for the agriculture ministry to authorise the import of live cattle from Paraguay as a means of maintaining slaughtering numbers, despite cattle supplies.

Slaughtering went down 9% in 2020 compared to 2019 and has been predicted to rise by 0.4% in 2021, amounting to 31.59 million head of cattle.

Source: Successful Farming/Reuters