Cow-calf Corner: Global Beef Market Outlook

May 03, 2023

By Derrell S. Peel

The latest Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade report issued by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service in April provides updates and forecasts of beef, pork, and chicken meat production, consumption, exports, and imports for the major countries in each market.  

Global beef production is projected to increase slightly in 2023 with decreased production in the U.S., the largest beef producing country, but continued growth in beef production in Brazil, the number two beef producer as well as number three China.  Beef production is projected to be steady to slightly lower in the European Union (E.U.), the number four beef producer, along with India (number five), Argentina (number six) and Canada (number nine).  Increases are also forecast for Mexico (number seven) and Australia (number eight).

Total beef consumption is forecast to decrease in the U.S., the largest beef consuming nation. China/Hong Kong is the second largest beef consuming region with continued growth in beef consumption projected in 2023. Brazil and the E.U. are the third and fourth largest beef consuming countries, both expected to have slight growth in beef consumption this year. The top four beef consuming nations are projected to account for 65 percent of global beef consumption. India is the number five beef consuming country, followed by Argentina and Mexico.

Total beef exports are projected to increase just slightly in 2023. Brazil is the largest beef exporting country with exports forecast to increase slightly in 2023.  U.S. beef exports are expected to decrease slightly with declining beef production, dropping the U.S. from second to third place as a beef exporting country behind India.  Australia continues to recover and rebuild its beef industry with beef exports increasing and putting Australia just behind the U.S. as the number four beef exporter.  These top four beef exporting countries account for 61 percent of global beef exports.  Behind the top four beef exporters, the next tier of beef exporting countries includes Argentina, New Zealand, the E.U., Canada, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Mexico.     

The combined China/Hong Kong market is by far the largest beef importing region in recent years with total imports more than double the beef imports into the U.S., the second largest beef importing country.

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