RUSSIA - Russian beef imports during the fiscal year to April were up one per cent year-on-year, to 542,910 tonnes swt, with average prices for the period up four per cent, to US$3,622/tonne.
Despite a 13 per cent decline in imports from Brazil, to 224,129 tonnes swt (and 31 per cent down from the record 324,137 tonnes swt shipped during the first ten months of the 2007-08 period), it remains Russia's main beef supplier., reports Meat and Livestock Australia.
Uruguay was Russia's second largest beef supplier, although total volumes were 9 per cent below year ago levels - the combination of tight supplies and increasing prices. In contrast, imports from Australia for the 10 months jumped 354 per cent year-on-year, to 56,363 tonnes swt (Russia's third largest beef supplier). The Russian market has become a very lucrative and crucial outlet for Australian beef in recent years, attracting some of the product that in previous years would have been shipped to the US.
Russian imports of Argentinean beef have been slashed in recent years, falling to only 17,148 tonnes swt for the past 10 months, as cattle supplies remain very tight given the falling herd, while beef prices within the Argentinean market soar. Comparatively, Russian imports of Argentinean beef totalled 167,632 tonnes swt for the same 10 month period in 2005-06.
Reportedly, Russian beef importers have been reluctant to accept the recent higher offer prices from South American suppliers, given the current ban placed on 24 Brazilian plants across three states (World Beef Report). The Russian market is expected to raise quotes into July once current stocks are depleted.