U.S. Beef Exports Going Strong This Fall


The latest monthly trade data has been tabulated – for August – and U.S. beef trade continued its impressive performance with monthly exports up 9 percent and year-to-date export totals up 14.2 percent year over year.

For the year to date, Japan has a 28.8 percent share of U.S. beef exports followed by South Korea at 20.6 percent. Mexico came in at number three with 14.1 percent followed by Canada at 9.7 percent and Hong Kong at 8.9 percent. Taiwan accounted for 5.7 percent of total U.S. beef exports.

“Unsurprisingly, fledgling U.S. beef exports to China have faltered with the trade war,” said Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist. Peel said. “U.S. beef exports to China in August were down from the prior month and represented 0.47 percent of August U.S. beef exports.”

Monthly beef exports to China have decreased 47.5 percent since the pre-tariff peak in May.

Total U.S beef imports decreased 3.4 percent year over year in August and are unchanged for the year to date in 2018. Canada represented the largest share of U.S. beef imports at 24.9 percent for the first eight months of 2018, followed by New Zealand with a 23.3 percent share, Australia with a 21.4 percent share and Mexico at 16.2 percent.

Brazil is listed as the number one exporter of beef, followed by India, Australia, the United States and New Zealand. The United States remains the top beef-importing market, followed by China, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea.

“Brazil beef exports are projected to increase nearly 5 percent year over year in 2019, putting Brazil solidly back on top as the leading global beef-exporting country,” Peel said. “India, which exceeded Brazil as the largest beef exporter from 2014 to 2016, declined in 2018 and is projected to decline again in 2019.”

Australia, which has struggled to recover from an earlier drought, is in drought once again and is forecast to see year-over-year declines in beef exports in 2019. Beef exports of the United States are forecast to experience modest growth year over year in 2019.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service has released the bi-annual “Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade” report with 2019 forecasts for beef production, consumption and trade among major global participants in those markets.

“Overall, global beef production is forecast to increase slightly in 2019, while beef exports remain essentially unchanged,” Peel said. “Beef imports among major importing countries are forecast to increase 3 percent to 4 percent in 2019.”

U.S. beef imports have changed little since 2016 though USDA forecasts show a slight increase in U.S. beef imports in 2019. Other analysts forecast little change or even a slight decline in U.S. beef imports in 2019.

“China continues to increase year over year and is closing the gap with the United States,” Peel said. “China could be the largest beef-importing country in 2020 or even in 2019 if U.S. beef imports decline and China reaches or exceeds current forecasts.”

Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea are all projected to increase beef imports in 2019.

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