THE NETHERLANDS, Utrecht. Analysts at Rabobank published their latest report on the global beef trade. After a record-breaking year in 2022, softened consumer sentiment and weaker beef pricing at the end of 2022 flowed through into early 2023.
According to Rabobank’s Global Beef Quarterly report, China will remain a focal point as it emerges from Covid lockdowns amid a slowing economic environment. Rabobank’s analysts anticipate that Chinese demand for beef will pick up in the second half of 2023, boosting global beef prices.
The other focal point will be the US. After setting records in both volume and value terms for beef exports in 2022, numbers are starting to show the contraction in production. Beef herd numbers have dropped, and beef cow inventory has been at its lowest since 1962. The decline in US beef production will cause a redistribution of global beef supplies and an overall tightening in the market.
On a global scale, total beef production is expected to be steady in the first quarter. A lift of 5% in Australia and 2% in Brazil balanced the declines in beef production in the US, EU and New Zealand in the first quarter of 2023. Supply through 2023 is forecast to remain tight as US production dips. Most regions witnessed a downward trend in cattle prices, the exception being the US, where more limited supplies provide price support.