While Argentine beef is world famous, in the last decade or so government policies instituted by the successive Kirchner administrations— such as quotas on exports and other trade obstacles—have led to a drop-off in beef exports. In 2005, for example, Argentina exported 774,000 tons of beef, making it the third largest exporter in the world. However, in 2015, the country fell to 17th place, exporting less than 200,000 tons.
Upon taking office in December 2015, President Mauricio Macri quickly began to open up the Argentine market and remove restrictive trade regulations. Almost immediately, beef exports began to grow. In 2016, they ascended to 230,000 tons—rising to 11th in the world from 17th in just one year— and then to 10th place in 2017, with 312,000 tons. This year, Argentina is set to become the world’s seventh largest beef exporter, with an estimated 435,000 tons of beef to be exported by the end of 2018 (double sales in 2 years), and aims for fifth place by 2020. The Government considers that the country should aim to export one million tons per year of meat products. In the first half of the year, there was already a 60% growth in sales abroad.
With 435,000 tons of exported beef, Argentina will surpass both Uruguay and Paraguay—which it hasn’t done for years— expected to export 420,000 and 400,000 tons respectively. However, Argentina’s beef exports still trail far behind that of neighboring Brazil, which last year exported 1.86 million tons, a number which is expected to rise to 2 million by the end of the year.
It was valued to have accessed new markets (China, Japan) but stressed that now the competition to advance in the ranking will be increasingly difficult. The devaluation favors the livestock scenario, but the challenge is that this competitive improvement is transferred to the entire chain, to optimize production efficiency.
Agribusiness generated foreign exchange for us$ 14,3 billion in last 6 months
The agroindustrial sector generated a net foreign exchange income of us$ 14,340 million in the first half of the year. Thus, the foreign exchange contributed by the agroindustrial sector allows ensuring the operations and jobs of most of the economic sectors present in the Argentine territory.
Most of the income in dollars is represented by exports of cereals, biodiesel, flour, oil and soybeans. In second place was the sector “food and beverages”, with us$ 2.654 million invested in the first 6 months of this year. Mining entered us$ 1,473 million and was the third sector in the ranking.
Regarding the oil&gas industry, the export revenues generated by the sector in the first 6 months of the year did not compensate for the outflow of US currencies promoted by the sector, which implied that a negative net foreign exchange balance resulted in the period us$ 763 million.
As for the tourism sector, in the first semester of 2018, foreign exchange outflows for us$ 5,535 and us$ 1,068 million were registered under “Travel and other card expenses” and “Passenger transportation”, respectively. While in the first 6 months of this year, the balance of the tourism sector recorded a deficit of us$ 5,544 million, versus another of us$ 5,607 million in the same period of 2017.