By Agustin Geist, Tom Polansek and Ana Mano
BUENOS AIRES/CHICAGO/SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Beef prices are surging worldwide, taking meat off the menu in steak-loving Buenos Aires and spoiling summer barbecues in the United States as Chinese imports rise and the cost of feeding cattle soars.
Globally, the surge is contributing to the highest food prices since 2014, according to the United Nations food agency, hitting poorer consumers particularly hard as they struggle to recover from economic shutdowns triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rise in beef prices has been spurred by increasing demand from China, limited cattle supplies in some countries, a shortage of slaughterhouse workers and rising feed costs. The trend is starting to rattle supplier markets and impact policy.
Argentina, the second-biggest beef supplier to China after Brazil, on May 17 halted exports for a month as it grapples with runaway inflation. It blamed high demand from