South American beef producers are enjoying a surge in demand following the BSE outbreak in the US.

Likewise European pork manufacturers are experiencing a big increase in demand from the Far East.

Brazilian Frigorificos faces further disruption to supplies as government veterinary inspectors threaten a walk-out after a breakdown in pay negotiations. This will bring the industry to a stop as no killing can take place without the presence of the inspectors.

In addition customs officers are continuing their unofficial walkouts at the ports and there have been reports of containers missing boats.

UK importers are concerned at the threat of further price increases following recent consolidation within the canning industry, which has reduced the number of canners in Brazil to two major groups.

So far, the increases have not been alleviated by the weakening of the US dollar and further price rises are expected in the coming weeks.