At the end of May, the Argentine government imposed a 30-day ban on beef exports to countries outside South America. This was reportedly done to limit rising meat prices. The government blamed meat exporters for the rise in the domestic price of beef. According to figures from the Institute for the Promotion of Beef in Argentina, the consumer price of beef in April was on average 65 per cent higher than in the same month last year.
Argentina was the world's fifth largest beef exporter last year, exporting more than 700 000 tonnes, of which almost 70 per cent went to China. Many pet food producers are also likely to be affected by the export ban.
It is expected that China in particular will now turn to suppliers in Brazil and the USA. However, the Buenos Aires government has indicated that the ban could be reduced if an agreement on prices is reached.