Argentinian beef exports to the European Union (EU) are up 13% to 8,000t from the same time last year, according to AHDB Beef and Lamb (previously Eblex).

The EU remains a key market for Argentina, particularly in value terms, AHDB says.

While the beef trade amounted to just over 20% of total volumes in the three-month period (January to March), in value terms the EU trade was worth over 40% of total returns, it says.

Most beef exported to the EU is under the High Quality Beef Quota (Hilton Quota) which covers chilled and frozen higher valued cuts at reduced import duty, it says.

AHDB says that Germany is ranked as the number one highest valued market for Argentine exports.

In the January to March period of 2015 Argentina exported significantly more beef onto the global market than it did in the corresponding period a year earlier, AHDB says.

At 33,400t, volumes were up over 40% on the year and while this amounted to a substantial increase, it is still far below the 80,000t exported in the same three months back in 2009, it says.

In 2014, Chile was the number one market for Argentine beef, in volume terms, followed by Russia and the EU, it says.

Currently, all three markets are undergoing economic problems and currency devaluations and beef exports have shifted towards China, which has increased its demand, it says.

AHDB says that this market currently purchases frozen boneless beef, but local exporters are optimistic that in the next few months Argentina could sign a new sanitary protocol with China to export bone-in and chilled beef, as Uruguay already does.

Shipments to Chile and Israel also increased. In contrast, and having capitalised on shortages in Russia in the second half of last year, in the first three months of this year trade with Russia was back on the year earlier, it says.