U.S. Beef Export Numbers Decline in First Month of 2023

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Katelyn McCullock about the latest beef export numbers.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is visiting with the Director and Senior Agricultural Economist at the Livestock Marketing Information Center, Katelyn McCullock, about the latest beef export numbers from the USDA and the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Looking back at 2021 and 2022 both being record export years, McCullock said this January 2023 data is starting things off on a negative note as those numbers have fallen 16 percent below 2022.

“We saw a pullback almost universally, across the board,” McCullock said. “Canada was even with a year ago, but China was down 25 percent.”

Taiwan was down over 30 percent, McCullock said, while Mexico and Japan were up. South Korea and Vietnam, she added, were both down significantly by double digits.

“We did import more product,” McCullock said. “That was up four percent in total. Probably the big story out of this is going to be Brazil shipped, I believe, it was a record-high for the month.”

Argentina sent 15 percent more and Canada sent 14 percent more, McCullock said, creating a pretty strong import month.

“One of the things that is happening with imports and exports is going to be what the relative currency value is, and how expensive beef is relatively here, and what we can buy it for in all of the relative values,” McCullock said. “So, it remains to be seen maybe what the rest of the year looks like. We have a fairly aggressive import projection out there. We are up about seven to ten percent over a year ago in 2023.”

While the U.S. has a fairly substantial decline in beef exports, McCullock said that should end up being only two to five percent in the long run. With that decline in beef production in the U.S., McCullock said imports will help fill that gap.

“For beef exports, that market has realty been driven by China in the last two years,” McCullock said. “To see them slip down into under 60 million pounds in the last six or seven months is a pretty big change from what the last two years have been. I don’t know if seasonality is what you would call that, but it is really going to depend on how they interact with our market as they have been such a driving factor for the last two years.”

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