Argentina’s beef exports to China stumble due to coronavirus

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South American meat exporters are seeing a sharp slowdown in trade with the Asian nation as the coronavirus disrupts shipments. One industry leader says exports have almost ground to a halt.

South American meat exporters, among the biggest beneficiaries of a pig-killing disease in China, are now seeing a sharp slowdown in trade with the Asian nation as the coronavirus disrupts shipments.

Argentina’s beef exports to China have almost ground to a halt as the virus restricts cargo handling in ports, Miguel Schiariti, who heads the nation’s meat industry group CICCRA, said Monday in a telephone interview.

Argentine meat-packers are seeking alternative buyers including Russia, although those markets “won’t pay nearly as much as China did,” Schiariti said. Brazilian sellers have also been diverting shipments from Shanghai to other ports in China or Hong Kong.

“It’s causing serious collection problems because there are companies that have exported but aren’t getting paid,” Schiariti said.

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