Brazil currently exports 27% of its production and consumes the other 73% domestically.
But estimates show an increase in domestic consumption of nearly 180,000 tonnes in 2007.
Coupled with a strengthening of the Brazilian currency by 40% over the last two years, this means that domestic prices for some cuts of beef are now higher than those in the international market.
A reduction in the supply of beef for export became evident in the second half of 2007 and is likely to continue in 2008.
This will have a greater impact on exports to the EU than new regulations which come into force after January 31st 2008, which are expected to have little effect on supplies.
Farms are currently being audited to see whether they meet EU beef import standards. Farms which reach the approved list will comply fully with European and Brazilian traceability regulations. EU inspections will follow.
"Despite domestic demand Brazil remains the world's biggest beef exporter," commented Brazilian Beef Information Service director Robert Metcalfe, "and is determined to be fully compliant with EU regulations."