Beef to benefit from African Swine Fever epidemic

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

The international beef sector may benefit from the rise of African Swine Fever
The international beef sector may benefit from the rise of African Swine Fever

Related tags Beef

New reports of incidents of African Swine Fever (ASF) are being reported on a daily basis, with China and Belgium both being hit by the virus in recent weeks. However, the rising number of incidents is having a positive knock-on effect on other proteins, particularly beef.

According to the latest Rabobank Beef Quarterly​ report, it has been predicted that a drop in pork consumption could lead to a rise for other proteins including egg, poultry, beef, mutton and seafood.

Chinese beef consumption may be the biggest beneficiary of ASF outbreaks, as Rabobank analysts believe the pork supply shortage in China would push up beef consumption, in particular the consumption of fresh meat at retail markets, where consumers tend to more readily shift to beef from both a trading-up and food safety perspective.

Again, this will have a knock-on effect on the rest of the world as beef production in China has been stagnant for a couple of years, which means increased beef consumption will require imports to rise.

In the first nine months of 2018, China’s official imports of beef increased by 40% year-on-year. Rabobank expects to see this strong growth continue in 2019, with all the major exporters, including South American countries, Australia, New Zealand and some European countries, benefiting from China’s stronger demand in 2019.

Earlier this year, China granted access to a number of European countries, including Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, France and the UK, to export frozen beef to China, so they will no doubt be looking eagerly at this market, especially when contracts worth in the region of €50m, like ABP’s with Wowprime​, could be obtained.

Also reported in the Rabobank research was the success of Brazilian beef exports. They have increased by 10% during the first 10 months of 2018, with China and Chile being two of the markets showing the strongest gains. The Brazilian market also benefited from the lifting of the Russian embargo earlier this month, which will boost 2019 exports. Rabobank expects Brazilian beef production to increase by around 2% in 2019.

Other areas of note in the report included Mexico, which reported growing exports to Japan and South Korea; more stabilised production in Europe in 2019; and Canada making moves to capitalise on the growing demand for beef.

Recently Argentina announced a re-opening of beef trade with the US​, while Portugal has invested in promoting its beef produce​ on the global stage.

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