December 4, 2013
US beef import from Oceania is expected to continue till the end of 2013, likely raising the country's import totals further.
Imports from Mexico are expected to remain strong this year, while imports from Canada are likely to strengthen. US imports for 2013 are forecast at 2.57 billion pounds, more than 15% over-year increase, making the US again a net beef importer, although by a close margin.
In 2012, US beef imports totalled 2.22 billion pounds, or nearly 8% higher than in 2011. Imports were stronger over-year from Australia (+45%), New Zealand (+8%), Mexico (+56%), and Uruguay (+39%). Australia and Canada supplied the largest imports of beef to the US, at 655 and 537 million pounds. Among the remaining top beef exporters were New Zealand (495 million pounds), Mexico (242 million pounds), and, jointly, Central American countries (Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras at 140 million pounds).
Previous years' efforts at herd rebuilding in Australia and an expansion in that country's exportable supply of beef allowed for the strong over-year growth in US imports from Australia. Imports from Canada declined 22% due to tightened beef and lower cattle inventories. Exports by Mexico to all destinations increased by 38% through November-a result of the country's initiative to become more competitive in the global beef market. Much of this increase in Mexican beef exports was to the US.