US exports beefing up

29 November 2016

The combination of a recovering cattle herd and abundant grain supply (the USDA have forecast 2016 to be a record corn and soy crop) has resulted in US beef production increasing 6% year-on-year over the January to September period.

While the vast majority of US beef remains on the domestic market, the country is consistently among the top four global beef exporters and is Australia’s greatest competition in key markets such as Japan and Korea.

Between January and September, US beef exports lifted 9% year-on-year, to 578,000 tonnes swt (U.S. Department of Commerce). US beef exports to Japan and Korea, Australia’s second and third largest markets in 2015, have surged 15% and 31% year-on-year (January-September), to 154,000 tonnes swt and 113,000 tonnes swt, respectively.

US beef production is ramping up at a time when Australian supplies have been in contraction – year-to-September Australian beef production and exports are back 18% and 14%, respectively. While Australia has maintained its position as the primary supplier into Japan and Korea, both markets are experiencing greater competition from US product.

Looking ahead, competition from the US is expected to remain. In the USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report (WASDE) released earlier this month, 2017 US beef exports were forecast to increase 16% and 7% above 2015 and 2016 volumes, respectively. 

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