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Independent.ie

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Brazilian meat ban having no effect yet on demand for Irish beef - processors

Pic Roger Jones.
Pic Roger Jones.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The current ban on Brazilian meat by numerous countries has not yet impacted demand for Irish beef, Irish beef processors admit.

While Brazil's meat export trade looks to suffer badly, there has been no immediate knock on lift in demand for Irish beef it seems.

Brazil's beef exports are worth around US$12 billion a year, but the suspension of imports from countries including Hong Kong, which accounts for US$1.1 billion of that trade, have impacted the Brazilian meat trade.

Industry commentators here though have said they have yet to see any indication of a pick up in demand on the back of the scandal.

One factory source said the market is generally challenging and numbers are tightening up a bit so next few weeks will be tricky for processors.

"If you look at the markets where Brazilian beef is being sold they are not likely to look to Ireland for supply. We have a more premium product.

"It’s not a like for like product," he said.

Another factory source confirmed that it is "far too early" for any impact to be felt in the beef sector. It comes as China reopened its market to Brazilian beef.

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Brazil accounts for 140,000t of beef in EU markets, or 42pc of the EU's beef import total. However, in a market that totals 7.5mt annually, Brazilian beef makes up less than 2pc of the total EU beef market.

Hong Kong and China are the two main importers of fresh Brazilian meat, accounting for around 25pc of all Brazil's beef and poultry exports, while Hong Kong is, by farm, the most significant market for offal from Brazil.

Ireland imported 59t of Brazilian beef in 2016, according to figures from the Brazilian Beef Exports agency.


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