BUENOS AIRES, July 13 (Reuters) – Argentina’s beef exports fell 6.6% year-on-year in May, to 55,700 tonnes, due to a suspension of shipments that took effect in the second half of this month, the chamber of the country’s meat industry, CICCRA. .
Argentina is the world’s fifth largest supplier of beef, mainly to China. But on May 20, the government suspended exports for 30 days in an attempt to increase local supply and lower domestic food prices ahead of year-end congressional elections.
“In the year-over-year comparison (in May), a 6.6% drop was observed, fully explained by the shrinking of shipments to China,” CICCRA said in its monthly report.
China is by far the main buyer of Argentina’s beef exports. According to CICCRA, 77.5% of shipments between January and May were destined for the Chinese market.
Measured in foreign currencies, Argentina’s beef exports fell 10.5 percent year-on-year in May to $ 231 million, CICCRA said.
Beef is a very sensitive product in Argentina, where family barbecues, or “asados”, are a regular activity. High meat prices threaten to put voters in a bad mood ahead of congressional elections slated for November.
Cattle ranchers have warned that export controls will discourage investment in the sector.
(Reporting by Agustin Geist, written by Hugh Bronstein, edited by Sonya Hepinstall)
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