São Paulo – Beef exports from Brazil to the UAE were up 439.84% year-on-year in H1 2019, according to Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce figures. Brazilian beef sales to all Arab countries were up 47.62%.
The UAE imported 51,000 tons of beef from Brazil in H1, up from 9,400 tons in H1 2018. The UAE were the fourth biggest importer of Brazilian beef; Egypt was the third biggest. Arab countries took in a combined 19.53% of total beef exports from Brazil, up from 15.88% in H1 2018.
“What happened was that since last year, those countries became more interested in Brazilian beef, mostly due to competitiveness-related factors. The UAE are becoming a bigger buyer, in line with what the Brazilian industry had been expecting,” University of São Paulo Center for Advanced Studies on Applied Economics (Cepea-USP) livestock researcher Thiago Bernardino de Carvalho told ANBA.
Besides low production costs, which translate into competitiveness for Brazil’s industry, Carvalho points out that Brazilian animals are unique. “We have lean meat in Brazil. Contrary to popular belief about barbecue meat being ‘heavier,’ Nelore and Zebu beef, which are widespread in Brazil, are very well-liked in those countries,” he said.
And the question of halal beef, whose consumption is permitted to Muslims, is another driver of demand from Arab countries. “We are able to export halal slaughter meat, and this is conducive to selling to Arab countries because of their standards. Poultry paves the way for beef. As income goes up, countries will stop buying cheaper meat and migrate to meats such as beef,” said Carvalho regarding how poultry sales from Brazil to Arab countries are now being followed by exports of other products.
Overall beef exports from Brazil climbed 25.5% to 827,000 tons in H1 2019, with revenue going up 16.2% to USD 3.12 billion as per Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (Abiec) numbers. However, Abiec’s late-2018 projections remain unchanged, with both volume and revenue seen going up 10% this year.
June saw 134,266 tons shipped from Brazil, and USD 516.44 million in revenue.
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum