In early 2024, Beef consumption in Argentina dropped significantly

In early 2024, Beef consumption in Argentina dropped significantly

Javier Milei’s government slogan, “There’s no money,” encompasses various aspects, one of which is the consumption of meat, a staple in the Argentine diet. The price of meat has seen a significant increase in the past four months, leading consumers to limit their purchases. The Chamber of Meat Industry and Commerce of Argentina (Ciccra) reported that apparent beef consumption dropped by 8.2 percent between February 2023 and February 2024, totaling around 349,100 tons of bone-in beef.

Several factors contribute to this phenomenon, including the overall context of inflation and weakening purchasing power. Consumer beef prices in Greater Buenos Aires rose by 15 percent in February, adding to the previous increases seen in December and January. The rising costs of electricity, expenses, and supplies are forcing butchers to adjust their prices to cover these expenses.

The beef meat processing industry produced 504,000 tons of bone-in beef in the first two months of the year, representing a slight decrease compared to the previous year. Additionally, the export sector claimed a larger portion of the production, with a 13.5 percent increase in exports recorded in January 2024.

Local consumption of beef hit a record low in February, standing at 44.6 kilos per person annually. The weight of domestic consumption vs. total production fell to its lowest level since 1996. Experts predict a reduction in meat production due to various factors, including a lower initial stock, the recovery of fields, and a shortage of livestock.

With exports not deemed particularly lucrative due to the uncompetitive dollar exchange rate, experts anticipate a drop in meat consumption in the coming months. While production costs remain high for exports, there is little room for price increases in the domestic market. As a result, consumption is expected to decrease as the market adjusts to the changing dynamics of the meat industry.

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