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31 Jul, 2021 06:28

No bull! Russia becomes top-supplier of beef to China

No bull! Russia becomes top-supplier of beef to China

Russia has overtaken Australia, Argentina and Brazil in beef exports to the Chinese market, which are likely to grow further over the next five years, the Center for Industry Expertise (CIE) of Russia’s Rosselkhozbank says.

China bought some 3.7 thousand tons of Russian beef in the first quarter of 2021, 20 times more than during the same period last year, the industry department of the agricultural bank reported.

Over 55% of Russia’s total cattle meat exports go to the Chinese market. Overall, Russia sent about 6.5 thousand tons of cattle meat abroad in January-March, nearly two and a half times more than a comparable period in 2020.

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The CIE explains the export growth as “the effect of a low base and a competitive price,” which makes Russian beef popular among Chinese consumers. Also, China’s own meat production was damaged by the African swine fever in 2018-2019, which forced the country to increase meat imports. Experts say this trend will continue for at least five more years.

The need to keep meat imports at a high level will remain for at least the next five years, while the effects of the African swine fever outbreak are felt. Therefore, in the coming years, imports of Russian beef to China will continue to grow at a high rate,” the head of the CIE, Andrei Dalnov, predicts.

China’s former major suppliers have had problems of their own, with Australia and Argentina both cutting their exports due to the pandemic. Brazilian companies were compromised back in 2017, when several dozen of the country’s agricultural enterprises were shut down due to non-compliance with sanitary conditions.

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Cattle meat production in Russia has been growing since 2018, with experts stating that its dynamics remained positive, even amid the pandemic. Russia produced a total of 314,000 tons of cattle meat in the first quarter of 2021.

Experts say the high demand from the Chinese market will not affect beef prices in Russia, While the annual demand for beef reaches 1.94 million tons, the country exports just 20,000 tons, which is a little more than one percent. Also, unlike consumers in China, Russians prefer to buy cheaper meats like chicken and pork, with only about 17% choosing beef. 

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