Carnival is approaching, and the barbecue promised by Lula during the campaign is starting to get closer to consumers’ pockets.
The price of picanha fell again at the beginning of the year and has already accumulated a 10% decline in the last 12 months. The scenario, however, is still far from ideal, since, in the four years of the Jair Bolsonaro government, picanha has accumulated a 52% increase. Even with the current drop, prices remain high for a consumer who has lost income in recent years.
Already the beer, also mentioned by Lula in the campaign, anticipating the greater consumption during Carnival, begins to have new readjustments. After rising 0.88% in December, it was 1.74% more expensive in January. In the last 12 months, the price evolution of the drink was 10.50%.
The information is from Fipe (Fundação Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas), which publishes weekly the behavior of prices without São Paulo.
Barbecue, after all, is not just picanha. The most recent data also indicate a drop in the prices of beef ribs, sirloin steak and sausage.
Beef competitors, more competitive in prices, are also in decline. The chicken lost 4% of its price in January and accumulates a high of only 1.54% in the last 12 months. Pork ribs, after a new decline in the first month of this year, are cheaper than 12 months ago.
Some barbecue complements, however, still weigh heavily on the pocket. French bread keeps high and accumulates 18% in 12 months. Even with an accommodation in the international prices of wheat, the French bread costs R$ 22 per kilo in some bakeries in São Paulo.
The farofa already rises less —the high in January was 1.44%—, but it still accumulates evolution of 38.2% in the prices of the last 12 months. The same occurs with coal, which was 3.9% more expensive last month, a lower evolution than in previous months, but with a 31% increase in 12 months, according to Fipe.
Salad, after the acceleration of prices for fruit and vegetables caused by the rains in the last quarter of 2022, is also starting to cost less. Tomatoes dropped 7% in January, and onions dropped 29%. The prices of this accumulated in 12 months, however, still registered an increase of 51%.
Why does meat, the main component of barbecue, fall out? Brazil continues to sell a lot of meat abroad. In January, there were 160 thousand tons of bovine protein “in natura”. China, however, the main Brazilian importer, is no longer willing to pay so much for the product.
In 2022, considering all types of exported beef, the Chinese paid US$ 6.41 per kilo, on average for the year. Prices gradually dropped towards the end of the year, reaching US$ 4.96 in December, a value far removed from the US$ 7.33 of June, according to Thiago Bernardino de Carvalho, a researcher at Cepea.
The amount paid by the Chinese in December was the lowest since November 2021. If considered the average of all countries, the value at the end of 2022 retreated to US$ 4.80, the lowest in 20 months.
The Dutch market was the best paid for Brazilian meat in December, paying US$ 9.19 per kilo. Hong Kong (US$ 3.27) and Russia (US$ 3.55) paid the least, according to the researcher’s calculations.
Stock replenishment, the weight of inflation and the Covid-zero policy reduced Chinese demand. And this reflects directly on the domestic market, according to Carvalho.
The arroba loses value, also pulling pork and poultry down. Cepea (Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics) points out the arroba of beef at R$ 286 in São Paulo. A year ago it was at R$340.
As a result, a kilogram of matched carcass (meat from the forequarters, hindquarters and needle point) dropped to R$ 18.7 in Greater São Paulo this month, after remaining above R$ 19 since August.
The fall in beef also influences pork and chicken, both with retreats in supermarkets. Carvalho says that there may be an attempt to readjust prices during the Carnival period, due to demand, but that the margin for an increase is small. The product offering is better, and the consumer’s money is tight. “But there is light at the end of the tunnel for the consumer”, says Carvalho when referring to future prices.
In the researcher’s assessment, livestock managed to improve productivity and increase production. Exports, however, influence prices, especially in the period of high external demand.
In the August-October quarter, Brazilian beef exports exceeded 200 thousand tons per month. In September, there were 203,000 of “in natura” meat and 229,000 when adding industrialized meat and offal.
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