GLOBAL – A recent report on the global beef market published by Rabobank offers insights on the outlook of the market in 2023 with regards to the impact of the reopening of China after it was seized by COVID restriction policies among other factors.

In 2022, beef markets in various regions were driven by elevated consumer demand and tight beef supplies.

Brazil, one of the world’s largest beef exporters, exported about 2.34 million tonnes of beef in 2022, a 26% increase compared to the amount exported in 2021. This was mainly propelled by beef demand in China, the world’s largest importer of beef, specifically from Brazil.

The report anticipates additional trade opportunities for Brazil in 2023. The country reopened the Mozarlándia plant, the largest export plant supplying China. Eight other plants await approval to export to China, while 11 plants await approval to export to Indonesia.

Despite Brazil’s resources and trade readiness, a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) could affect trade flow.

The country temporarily suspended exports of beef to China last month on account of a single case of BSE detected in the state of Pará.

In 2022, China’s beef imports increased by 15% to 2.68 million tonnes. Retaining its top-three beef export destination position.

In 2023, the report predicts that China will be a focal point for the global beef market after the country has been seen emerging from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restriction policies previously put in place.

The recent lifting of these restriction policies is predicted to result in a surge in household consumption levels with the Chinese demand for beef picking up in the second half of the year, boosting global beef prices.

The US on the other hand ranked as the world’s largest exporter and consumer of beef in 2022.

The country’s domestic production in 2022 was 28.29 billion pounds (12.83 billion Kg) from the 27.95 billion pounds (12.26 billion Kg) produced in 2021. The per capita consumption in 2022 was 26 kilograms/person/.

The country’s beef exports increased by 4% to 3.27 billion pounds in 2022.

The report expects a drop in US beef production which is anticipated to cause a redistribution of global beef supplies and an overall tightening of the market.

The total global beef production is forecast to be steady in the first quarter of 2023 with a 5% increase expected in Australian production and 2% expected in US production.

The Australian cattle market adopted a downward trajectory in the last months of 2022 with cattle prices dropping by over 20% between November 2022 and January 2023.

Weekly slaughter volumes increased in November and December 2022 and the report predicts that the slaughter volumes will further increase by 10% in 2023.

The increased production will lead to increased export volumes, even though supply chains are already reportedly quite saturated with beef.

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