World beef markets and trade expected to grow in 2017

By: Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist

The latest global meat trade estimates from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service indicate that beef production and consumption among major beef countries is growing in 2016 and is projected to grow additionally in 2017.  Aside from the U.S., the world’s largest beef producing and consuming country where both production and consumption are increasing, beef production is expanding in several major beef producing countries.  Brazil, which saw decreased beef production in 2015 and 2016, is projected to increase production in 2017.  Beef production is also expected to increase in China, India and Argentina with the European Union (EU) holding about steady.  Australia is an exception, with drought forced liquidation in 2014 and 2015 leading to a projected 19 percent beef production decrease in 2016 and continued smaller production in 2017.

In addition to the U.S., beef consumption among major beef consuming nations is projected to expand in 2017 in China and Brazil, with a modest year over year decrease in the EU.  In the remaining top ten beef consuming nations, beef consumption in 2017 is projected to expand in Argentina, India, Mexico, Pakistan and Turkey.  Russia is expected to post another decrease following reduced beef consumption in 2015 and 2016.  Beef consumption in Japan, which is currently the number eleven beef consuming nation, is projected to hold steady in 2017.

Beef exports among major exporting countries are projected to increase year over year in 2017.  In 2016, sharply lower beef exports from Australia and New Zealand are projected to more than offset increased exports from Brazil, India and the U.S. resulting is a slight year over year decrease in total exports from 2015 levels. Australia and New Zealand are expected see continued reductions in beef exports in 2017 with growth continuing in the three other largest beef exporting countries.  Beef exports also expected to continue growing in other top ten exporting countries in 2016 and 2017 including increased exports projected for Canada, Paraguay, Uruguay (steady in 2017), the EU and Mexico along with Argentina, currently the number eleven beef exporting country.

Despite sharply lower U.S. beef imports in 2016 and additional reductions projected for 2017, total beef imports among major importing countries are expected to increase year over year in 2016 and 2017.  Rapid growth in beef imports in China is the most dramatic change in global beef markets.  China, which was not a global beef market player at all just a few years ago, has risen to be the second largest beef importing country in 2016 with additional growth projected in 2017.  At the current pace of growth, China could surpass the U.S. as the largest beef importing country in the next two or three years.  Beef imports in South Korea have also increased sharply in 2015 and 2016 with modest increases projected to continue in 2017.  Japan is also projected to continue modest year over year increases in beef imports in 2017. Russia, which has seen beef imports fall by more than half since 2013, is projected to stabilize beef imports in 2016 and 2017 at the lowest level in more than 15 years.  Beef imports in most other significant beef importing countries are projected to be steady to higher in 2017.  These countries include the EU, Hong Kong, Egypt, Canada, Chile and Malaysia.