No more cheap beef from Brazil

Brazilian cattle prices have reached record levels because of the weak US dollar and a shortage of animals reaching markets. Additionally, domestic demand for beef offers slaughterhouses a better return than the export market where demand outstrips supply. Russia - Brazil's largest customer - will import more than half a million tonnes this year, up 64% on 2006, with Russia's ministry of agriculture having reopened five Brazilian states previously banned due to foot and mouth fears. Cattle prices in 2002 averaged about $16 per arroba, while today they are $40. Last year the average was just under $28, illustrating the steep price rise that is expected to continue well into next year. UK importers have also warned about possible scarcity of product. "We have to face reality - there will be no more cheap beef products from South America."