Brazil’s beef exports to Arab countries hit 11-year high

Last year saw the countries purchase a combined 341,660 tons of Brazilian cattle meat, which amounted to nearly 21% of total beef exports from Brazil.

Thais Sousa

São Paulo – Arab countries imported the biggest amount of beef from Brazil in 11 years. Overall, 341,660 tons of cattle meat got shipped to 15 out of the 22 existing Arab countries. The amount made up 20.8% of Brazil’s record-breaking foreign sales last year, the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (Abiec) reported.

“In 2018, out of the 22 Arab countries, Brazil shipped product to Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoro Islands, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the UAE,” Abiec executive director Liège Vergili Nogueira said in an interview with ANBA. She explained that 2018 results were fueled by the exchange rate and by sales to countries like Egypt.” Egypt’s imports had dwindled a bit over the last few years, and the country is a major player,” said Nogueira.

Revenues from sales to Arab countries were another highlight at USD 1.13 billion, the biggest amount in 6 years. The director explained that this is the result of work done over the past 15 years or more. “The Arab countries have been gaining in relevance since 2004 in Brazil’s trade balance, especially when it comes to beef. Since 2004, Brazil has shipped an average 276,000 tons per year,” she said.

Three out of the ten leading buyers of beef from Brazil are Arab countries, which accounted for 77.3% of the total shipped amount. Sales to Egypt, the premier Arab importer of beef from Brazil, amounted to 180,812 tons and fetched USD 526 million. Besides Egypt, which ranked third on the list of top buyers, Saudi Arabia placed 6th at 42,548 tons. The UAE ranked 7th, with sales up 65% to 36,821 tons. “Looking at export numbers from Brazil to those three countries in 2017 and 2018, shipped volume showed a noted increase last year,” the Abiec director points out.

In 2019, the association is expecting total exports to be up 10.7%, which would mean 1.8 million tons shipped. Sales to Arab countries are expected to increase by the same rate. “That should happen due to stronger sales to usual importers or to entry into new markets,” said Nogueira. Abiec expects to gain market share in Saudi Arabia. A non-Arab country which imports halal beef nonetheless and is in the association’s plans for this year is Turkey.

Questioned about Abiec’s next steps towards its goals, the director reaffirms the strategy of promoting the Brazilian Beef brand worldwide. “The increase in our exports is connected with the commercial, technical and political promotion work which the association, Brazil’s government and its enterprises are constantly doing,” she concluded.

Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

Cris Faga/NurPhoto

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