Meat & Livestock News

US Beef Trade Dynamics: Exports Decrease, Imports from Brazil and Australia Surge

TL;DR: US beef exports decline while imports from Brazil and Australia surge due to domestic production challenges and a strong US dollar affecting international competitiveness.

Export Trends

In the first two months of 2024, US beef exports decreased by 2.6%, continuing a downward trend from 2023. Notably, exports to major markets like Japan, South Korea, and China/Hong Kong dropped by 13.5%, 5.5%, and 2.6%, respectively.

Recovery in Mexico

However, Mexico, previously the third largest market, showed recovery. Beef exports to Mexico increased by 20.7% in the early months of 2024.

Surge in Imports

Conversely, beef imports in February rose by 23.8% year-over-year, with a 31.9% increase in the first two months. Brazil and Australia significantly contributed to this rise, with their imports up by 41.8% and 111.3%, respectively.

Other Import Markets

Canada remains the second-largest import source, up by 9.0% year-over-year. New Zealand and Mexico also saw changes, with New Zealand’s imports up 48.6% and Mexico’s imports down by 16.9%.

Market Challenges

The US beef market faces challenges such as decreasing production and rising prices. A strong US dollar is making exports more expensive for international buyers and increasing the attractiveness of imports.

Domestic Market Impact

Lean processing beef imports dominate, aimed at supplementing decreasing non fed beef supplies. The US is experiencing high demand for ground beef, pushing prices of 90% lean cuts to record levels. This demand is compounded by a high supply of fatty trimmings from feedlot cattle.

This shift in the US beef market dynamics reflects broader economic pressures and changing global trade patterns.