October 31, 2008


Global beef exports to increase 2 percent in 2009

Beef exports next year are expected to increase nearly 2 percent as gains by Brazil, Argentina and the US outweigh declining shipments from Australia and New Zealand.


Brazil's beef exports are forecast to climb nearly 5 percent to over 2 million tonnes. By overcoming sanitary issues, Brazil is now ready to resume sales to Chile, the EU and other key markets. However, continued restrictions on imports by the EU, as well as high export prices prevent a brighter forecast.


Argentina's exports are expected to jump 20 percent to 480,000 tonnes in 2009 after declining 25 percent this year. The growth stems from the Argentine government setting a higher export quota, cattle and beef supplies not expected to be limited by farmer strikes, and thermo-processed products to be exported out of quota. 


The US will continue to rebound from trade restrictions due to BSE. Opportunities in Asian markets are expanding therefore US beef exports are expected to surge nearly 10 percent. Also, the presence of US beef in South Korea is growing slowly, but once the large grocery chain stores decide to sell US beef, more chilled beef will be exported.


Australia and New Zealand's beef exports are expected to fall 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively, due to reduced output and growing competition from US beef in the key markets of South Korea and Japan. Strong domestic demand in both countries will also curb exports.


Global beef output to fall

World beef production is also expected to fall less than 1 percent or 295,000 tonnes, as modest increases in Brazil, China and India were more than offset by declines in the EU, Argentina, Australia and Russia.


Brazil's production is forecast to grow 2 percent or 190,000 tonnes. Key factors behind the growth are expected to be strong export demand, increased availability of cattle for slaughter, and continued robust domestic consumption bolstered by rising income. However, higher production costs and rising beef prices will restrict further growth.


China's output is forecast to rise nearly 2 percent to about 6.4 million tonnes, but pressure from rising production costs are expected to restrict growth rate.


India is expected to increase output by 135,000 tonnes or 5 percent to nearly 2.8 million tonnes. While exports are seen to remain strong, most of the growth will be driven by rising domestic consumption. Buffalo's popularity in India is growing on the expense of cows, as buffalos do not have religious taboo attached to it. Demand for buffalo meat is also gradually growing in export markets due to its price competitiveness, perceived organic nature, and proportionally less fat.


EU production is forecast to remain stagnant at nearly 8.2 million tonnes, as the union's cattle herd continues to shrink and slaughter wanes further.


Australian production is expected to fall over 1 percent to nearly 2.1 million tonnes as the supply of cattle for slaughter is reduced. Improved pasture conditions will encourage producers to hold back cattle for herd rebuilding.


Russian output is forecast to decline over 2 percent to 1.3 million tonnes, as low productivity and reproduction inefficiency continue to plague the sector.

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