The year 2019 was extremely favorable for the Brazilian beef industry. Excellent shipments in the second half led to an unprecedented picture of price detachment from the entire production chain. Fattened cattle and beef set record levels in this period, but it was not just the Chinese demand that motivated this whole situation. To a lesser extent, it can be seen as an upward factor. Slaughter in December showed a strong retraction, according to data from the federal, regional and municipal inspections. In other words, besides demand at an unprecedented level, the supply restriction factor must also be added as an element capable of boosting prices throughout the production chain.
The attached table expresses the slaughter behavior in 2019. It is noticeable that the last two months were marked by a sharp drop in slaughter, now with numbers closer to reality, with less space for government reviews in the short or even in the medium term. In November slaughter reached 2.62 million head, against 2.9 million head in November 2018, a decrease of approximately 9.5%. For the month of December, slaughter hit 2.5 million head, a decrease of 12.8% from 2018, when slaughter reached the level of 2.86 million head. In the whole year, the numbers also show a decrease, but to a lesser extent. Last year around 34.08 million head were slaughtered, while in 2018 slaughter surpassed the mark of 34.58 million head, down 1.4% from one year to the other.
It is important to highlight that the recent price behavior increases the attractiveness of the Brazilian beef market, which represents a greater retention of matrices at this time. The trend for the year 2020 is for even greater confinement, in line with the projections for exports. As a turning point, there are still uncertainties in relation to China, remembering that the Brazilian relationship with the Asian country is of high dependence, with a market share of approximately 27%.