Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist
For the first four months of the year, beef exports are down 9.0 percent year over year from record exports in 2022 following a 12.0 percent decrease in April compared to last year. With beef production falling, a relatively strong dollar and some global macroeconomic weakness, a decrease in exports has been expected. Thus far in 2023, South Korea is the largest beef export destination, outpacing Japan in the months of March and April to achieve a 23.3 percent share of total beef exports. South Korea, along with Mexico were the only major beef export markets to be larger year over year in April.
Beef exports to Japan were lower in March and April, including a 27.0 percent year over year decrease in April. For the January to April period, beef exports to Japan are down 7.3 percent year over year. Japan has a 22.7 percent share of total beef exports for the January through April period. Beef exports to the combined market of China/Hong Kong were down 3.6 percent in April and are down 8.8 percent year over year for the first four months of the year. China/HK remains the third largest beef export market with a 19.0 percent share of total beef exports thus far in 2023.
Beef exports to Mexico were up 5.6 percent in April and are up 14.9 percent year over year for the year to date. Mexico represents 9.5 percent of total beef exports thus far in 2023, up from an 8.0 percent share for the year 2022. Canada is the number five market for U.S. beef exports, down 10.5 percent so far this year and holding a 7.5 percent share of total beef exports.
Beef imports were up 0.4 percent year over year in April but are down 2.1 percent for the January through April period compared to last year. Beef imports are likely to increase in 2023 as beef supplies in the U.S. decrease and prices increase. The same strong dollar that is a headwind for beef exports tend to make U.S. markets more valuable.
Canada is the largest source of beef imports, with a 25.7 percent share of total imports. April beef imports from Canada were down 4.7 percent but are up 4.6 percent for the year to date. Brazil jumped out to an early lead in January, claiming the bulk of the “other country” quota, but has dropped sharply since then. April beef imports from Brazil were down 12.9 percent year over year and leaving the year-to-date total down 11.7 percent year over year. Brazil currently has a 19.6 percent share of total imports. Mexico is the third largest source of beef imports with an 18.1 percent share of the total. Beef imports from Mexico are declining with April imports down 11.6 percent and imports down 13.8 percent thus far in 2023. Imports of beef from New Zealand and Australia both jumped sharply in April with imports from New Zealand up 40.2 percent and from Australia up 35.9 percent year over year. So far this year, beef imports from New Zealand represent 13.4 percent of total imports with Australia accounting for 12.0 percent of the total. Beef trade remains generally robust and supportive to the U.S. market despite the changes that are occurring in the U.S. beef market.
Derrell Peel, OSU Extension livestock marketing specialist, explains how drought improvements have impacted beef prices on SunUpTV from June 10, 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AED7QlvG84&list=PLglOSpV-TcadvUT94k2ZDaOvQF9BRvTGs