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Brazilian protein shares rally after China lifts import ban

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Shares in Brazilian protein companies rallied on Monday, after import-bans by some of the largest import markets were lifted over the weekend.

China, the biggest national consumer of Brazilian meat, lifted a ban on imports on Saturday.

Chile and Egypt have also lifted blanket bans on Brazilian meat imports over the weekend.

JBS shares were up 2.0% in midday deals in Sao Paulo, at R$11.17, while Marfrig shares were up 2.2%, at R$6.03.

Minerva shares were up 7.4%, at R$10.29, while BRF shares were up 3.2%, at R$36.95.

Risk reduced

Brazilian broker Itau had expected the easing of the embargoes, but said the speedy resolution was "a major development that reduces the downside risk for listed protein stocks".

The restrictions on Brazilian proteins by major imports were put in place after police raided processing plants over claims that officials had taken bribes to clear rotten or infected meat.

The so called "carne fraca," or "weak flesh" scandal has seen 21 Brazilian units under investigation.

As Agrimoney noted last week, the sweeping bans were always going to be hard for importers to maintain, given the key role Brazil has in the global meat market.

Most supplies now out of embargo

Shipments from these units will remain banned from many markets, but this represents only a small proportion of total supplies.

"Prior to the latest announcements by China, Chile and Egypt some 50% of Brazil's beef exports were banned, and roughly 20% of its poultry exports," Itau said.

"If Hong Kong follows the Chinese example, less than 3% of Brazilian beef and poultry exports will end up being embargoed," the broker said.

By William Clarke

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