The US is Australia's second largest beef export market (in terms of volume), with shipments in 2012 reaching 224,111 tonnes swt, valued at about A$1 billion FOB.
Australian beef exports to the US in 2012 increased 34% on the record low shipments registered in 2011, but remained 1% below the five-year average. The year-on-year growth in exports to the market were assisted by strong demand for manufacturing beef, as the US domestic lean beef supply was tight throughout the year. The 60 year low cattle herd, including cow and calf crop resulted in reduced cattle slaughter during 2012.
Frozen grassfed beef continues to make up a majority of Australian beef sent to the US. However, chilled beef exports have been on the rise for the past decade. Chilled grassfed beef exports increased 26% year-on-year in 2012, to a record 29,812 tonnes swt.
Australian manufacturing beef exports to the US made up 69% of total Australian beef exports to the US in 2012.
US beef imports were higher in 2012, with volumes increasing 8% year-on-year. The increase in beef imports was largely attributed to strong volumes from Australia, despite the relatively weak US$ throughout 2012.
US beef quota
Australia exports beef to the US under a tariff rate quota of 413,214 tonnes in 2013. As at 6 May 2013, import entries of Australian beef had reached 58,011 tonnes swt, 8% lower compared with the same time last year (14.2% of quota filled). Australia was the largest source of imported beef in the US in 2012.
Steiner Consulting Group US market report
US cattle inventory
The US cattle herd continues to contract, with numbers as at 1 January 2013 falling 2% below year ago levels, to 89.3 million head - the smallest cattle inventory since 1952. The US cattle herd though remains the world's fourth largest cattle herd (following India, Brazil and China).
US beef production
The US is the world's largest beef producer, producing 11.8 million tonnes cwt of beef in 2012.
US beef consumption
US per capita beef consumption fell to the fourth highest position in the world in 2012 (following Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil). Given the forecast 4% decline for US beef production in 2013, steady beef exports and increase in imports will do little to offset this substantial fall in US beef production, with the import growth equivalent to only 1.3% of US consumption. Total US beef consumption is forecast to fall in 2013, with per capita consumption fall to the equivalent of 25.4kg (retail weight).
US beef exports
Prior to the discovery of the first case of BSE in the US in December 2003, the US was one of the world's largest beef exporters. For years following this time, US exports have remained at relatively low levels until 2011, when US beef exports reached a record high. US beef export in 2012 declined 12% from 2011, to 777,378 tonnes swt - a decline of 3% from the pre-BSE levels of 2003. The decline in US beef exports was largely due to the high US cattle prices and reduced cattle supply, amid the strong domestic market demand for lean grinding beef.
US beef imports
The US was the world's second largest beef importer in 2012 (following Russia). US beef imports (unprocessed and processed beef) reached 1,006,612 tonnes cwt (715,372 tonnes swt) in 2012 – up 8% on 2011 volumes.
Find out more about the North American beef market in the North America Beef Red Meat Market Report
Canada is Australia's 12th largest beef export market (in terms of volume), with shipments in 2012 reaching 15,661 tonnes swt, valued at about A$39 million FOB.
Australian beef exports to Canada in 2012 increased 54% on 2011 shipments – the highest volumes since the detection of the US BSE in 2003, but remained 46% below exports in 2003. The year-on-year growth in exports to the market was assisted by strong demand for manufacturing beef, as the Canadian cattle slaughter declined. Following years of severely drought and resultant cow herd liquidation, improved seasonal conditions in 2012 saw Canadian producers started rebuilding herd. Canadian cow slaughter in 2012 declined significantly from previous years.
Frozen grassfed beef makes up a majority of Australian beef sent to Canada. Similar to exports to the US, Australian manufacturing beef exports to Canada made up 69% of total Australian beef shipments to Canada in 2012.
Canada’s beef quota
Australia exports beef to Canada under a Tariff rate quota of 35,000 tonnes swt in 2013. Australia was the third largest source of imported beef in Canada in 2012, following the US and New Zealand. Australia is expected to be a more prominent supplier in the Canadian market in 2013, although volumes will remain below the 35,000 tonne Tariff rate quota.
Steiner Consulting Group Canada’s market report
Canada’s cattle inventory
The Canadian cattle herd increased for the first time in 7 years, with inventory as at 1 January 2013 rising 1% year-on-year, to 12.54 million head. Apart from the increase on 2011, the Canadian cattle herd in 2012 remained the lowest since 1995.
Canada’s beef production
Canada is the world's 11th largest beef producer, producing 1.06 million tonnes cwt of beef in 2012.
Canada’s beef consumption
Canada’s per capita beef consumption continued to decline in 2011, to 18.37kg (retail weight). Given the forecast 0.5% decline for Canadian beef production in 2013, steady beef imports and increase exports will likely reduce Canadian beef consumption. Total Canadian beef consumption is forecast to fall 2% in 2013.
Canada’s beef exports
Canada is a relatively small beef exporter compared with the US. Beef exports from Canada in 2012 declined 18% from 2011, to 69,242 tonnes (unprocessed and processed beef). The decline in Canadian beef exports was largely due to reduced supply and the high prices, amid the strong domestic market demand for lean grinding beef. Mexico was the largest export market of Canadian beef in 2012, followed by Hong Kong, Japan and Russia.
Canada’s live cattle exports
Canada is the second largest overseas supplier of live cattle to the US (following Mexico). Canada’s live cattle exports accounted for 35% of the total US live cattle imports in 2012. Canada exported 15% more cattle to the US in 2012, to about 787,500 head. More than half of the overall Canada’s live cattle exports to the US were fed cattle, followed by a smaller proportion of feeder cattle and slaughter cow. Given the estimated smaller cattle herd as at 1 January 2013, Canada is expected to export less live cattle to the US in 2013.
Canada beef imports
Canada’s beef imports in 2012 increased 13% to 223,637 tonnes (unprocessed and processed beef). The increase in imports was largely attributed to strong volumes from Australia and Uruguay, as prices of US beef were at record high.
Mexico is a small market of Australian beef, with shipments in 2012 registering 298 tonnes swt, valued at about A$1.7million FOB. Australian beef exports to Mexico declined 58% on 2011 shipments – the lowers volumes since 1996. Shipments to Mexico were predominantly thin flank.
The opportunity for Australian beef exports to Mexico is positive in the medium to long-term, underpinned by an expected fall in Mexican beef production in the coming years, as Mexico faces a long-term cattle herd decline similar to the US.
Mexico’s beef import tariff
Australia exports beef to Canada under a Tariff of 20%-25%. Imports of Australian Australia into Mexico was small in 2012, following imports from the US and Canada.
Steiner Consulting Group Mexico’s market report
Mexico’s cattle inventory
The Mexico’s cattle herd continues to contract, with numbers as at 1 January 2013 falling 8% below year ago levels, to 18.6 million head – the smallest cattle inventory since 1963. Similarly impacted by the last two year droughts, the Mexico’s cow herd has undergone a long-term liquidation. This combined with the lower calf crop and a surge in feeder cattle exports to the US has exacerbated the tight cattle supply for Mexico in the medium to longer term.
Mexico’s beef production
Mexico is the world's 8th largest beef producer, producing 1.82 million tonnes cwt of beef in 2012. Following the latest USDA forecast of increased cattle turn-off in 2013, due to the worsening drought in 2012 and high feed cost, but particularly in the lightweight category, Mexican beef production in 2013 is expected to total decline 2% from 2012, to 1.79 million tonnes cwt.
Mexico’s beef consumption
Mexico’s per capita beef consumption declined in 2012, to 16.3kg (retail weight). Given the forecast 1% decline for Mexico’s beef production in 2012, increased beef imports and exports are likely to maintain Mexico’s total beef consumption, with per capita beef consumption expected to decline from 2012. Offsetting much of the fall in beef consumption will be increased broiler utilisation, as consumers switch to relatively cheaper alternative source of protein in the current environment of high food inflation. Over the longer term, improved consumer income, as the economy recovers is expected to lift beef consumption.
Mexico’s beef exports
Mexico is a relatively small beef exporter compared with the US and Canada. While beef production increased nearly 1% in 2012, beef exports from Mexico during January to November 2012 increased 39% from 2011, to 132,491 tonnes cwt. The increase in Mexico’s beef exports was largely boosted by the increased grainfed beef production, facilitated by the additional approval of plants eligible to export under the US requirements for health and safety standards. Record high beef prices from the US, amid the soft Mexico’s domestic market demand also sent more Mexican beef to the US in 2012.
Mexico’s live cattle exports
Mexico is the largest overseas supplier of live cattle to the US. Mexico’s live cattle exports accounted for 65% of the total US live cattle imports in 2012. Mexico exported 3% more cattle to the US in 2012, to 1.46 million head. A large majority of Mexico’s live cattle exports to the US were feeder cattle. Mexico’s feeder cattle exports to the US accounted, on average, for about 8% of the overall cattle placed into US feedlots in 2012. Given the estimated smaller Mexican cattle herd as at 1 January 2013, Mexico is expected to export less live cattle to the US in 2013.
Mexico beef imports
Mexico’s beef imports during January to November 2012 decreased 19%, to 139,757 tonnes swt. The lower imports was largely suppressed by the soft demand, alongside high food inflation, with the US (where beef prices reached record high) the largest beef suppliers to the market.