Brazil-based meat giant JBS recorded a jump in earnings in the first half, boosted by growth in its US beef and chicken operations and a favourable exchange rate.

The world’s largest beef producer saw earnings soar to BRL650.3m (US$279.7m) in the six months to the end of June, compared to BRL314.1m a year earlier.

JBS said it saw an increase in the price of beef cuts and stability in cattle prices in the US in the period, in addition to an increase in demand for chicken, driven by promotional activities at retail and foodservice.

Sales reached BRL41.46bn, a 20.2% increase on the comparable period last year.

JBS controls a majority stake in US chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride, which earlier this month booked a jump in second-quarter net profit thanks to an improved product mix and efficiency gains.

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