Linears cattle market, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentina has announced that it is extending its restrictions on the export of beef until the end of October, in an attempt to keep a lid on domestic beef prices, which increased over 65% in the country since mid-2020. This will continue to constrain global beef supply, and support export prices.

In May 2021, Argentina announced that all beef exports would be suspended for 30 days, citing the rapidly declining affordability of beef for Argentinians.

After this initial period expired, this was followed up with the imposition of beef export restrictions, which included strict prohibition on the export of whole carcases, forequarters, and many other cuts of high popularity in the Argentinian domestic marketplace.

The government decrees limited Argentine beef exports to 50% of the average monthly volumes that were exported in the second half of 2020, meaning that total exports are restricted to 28,500 tonnes per month.

These restrictions were originally slated to expire at the end of August, but this week, the Argentine government announced that the export limitations would be extended again, out to the end of October.

Beef prices are a hot political topic in Argentina, and policies limiting beef exports to control food prices have been enacted several times in the past. In 2006, beef exports were banned for 180 days, and, more poignantly, the industry was hobbled by long term restrictions from 2010 until their removal in 2016 by the Macri Administration. The controls lead to a profound collapse in export volumes from over 500,000 tonnes per annum to less than 200,000 tonnes during the constrained period. (figure 1).

The Argentinian mid-term legislative election is scheduled for November 2021, so the timing of the extension on export volume limits is worth noting.

In 2020, Argentina exported around 800kt of beef, placing it in 4th place, globally, just in front of New Zealand. Argentinian beef exports prior to the restrictions were mostly destined for China, competing in this market with Australian beef and with other major customers including the EU, and Israel. The ongoing disruption of beef trade flow from Argentina may lead to opportunities for Australian exporters as customers look to find new suppliers, constrained supply will provide support global beef prices.

What does it mean?

Argentina’s extension of its beef export ban will reduce the world export supply of beef. Most of Argentina’s exports were bound for China, meaning that other countries will need to help fill in the gap, including Australia. Overall, the extended restrictions will tighten global beef supply, supporting prices and benefiting the outlook for Australian beef export industry.

Have any questions or comments?

We love to hear from you!

Print This Post

Key Points

  • Argentina has extended its beef export restrictions till the end of October
  • Argentina exports most of its beef to China
  • Supply restrictions support global beef prices

Click to expand

Click to expand

Data sources: DFAT, USDA, MLA, Mecardo

Make decisions with confidence- ask about our board packs, bespoke forecasting and risk management services

Have any questions or comments?

We love to hear from you!
USA texas longhorn

US herd build provides a boost

The long-predicted slowdown in US beef production has seemingly come into play this year, and Australian beef is filling some of the production gaps. Total

Read More »

Want market insights delivered straight to your inbox?

Sign up to the mailing list to get regular updates to new analysis and market outlooks

Independent analysis and outlook for wool, livestock and grain markets delivered to you as it’s published

Commodity conversations podcast cover image, a illustration of a sheep standing on a cow's back with grain either side
Listen to the podcast

Join the Mecardo team for the Commodity Conversations podcast, where we provide short weekly market recaps and longer conversations with guests to discuss the drivers and trends in livestock, grain and fibre markets.

Photo of a farmer surrounded by Merino sheep in dusty yards
Research: Analysis of the Australian sheep flock

In this report for LiveCorp and MLA, we analysed the historical trends in the demographics of the Australian sheep flock, examining domestic factors that influence farm-level enterprise decision making. 

Image of harvested grain pouring into a chaser bin

We don’t just bring you the most up to date market insights. Find out more about Mecardo’s services including risk management advisory, modelling, benchmarking, research & consultancy.