Global beef production is forecast to decrease slightly in 2023. Beef production decreases in the U.S. and European Union will more than offset increasing beef production in Australia and modest increases in Mexico and India. Changes in beef production and consumption will impact global beef exports and imports in the coming year.
Brazil is expected to remain the largest beef exporter with beef production increasing slightly in 2023. Brazil beef exports are limited by decreased beef imports in China. Beef exports from Brazil are significantly higher than the next three exporters. Australia, after drought in recent years decreased cattle numbers and beef production, is now in rebuilding mode.
Cattle prices are falling from historically high levels in Australia and beef exports are forecast to increase, helping Australia regain the number two spot. The U.S., number two beef exporting country in 2022 with record or near-record exports, will likely see exports decrease with declining beef production, higher beef prices and a continued strong dollar. The U.S. will likely drop to fourth place, a position it has frequently occupied in recent year. India is the remaining top four beef exporter with steady exports expected in 2023. India exports large quantities of water buffalo meat (carabeef) to low-end markets in Indonesia and Malaysia.
China/Hong Kong is the largest beef importing country in the world since 2018 and will be the largest by a factor of two in 2023. Prior to the rapid growth in China/HK imports in recent years, the U.S was the largest beef importing country for many years. Beef imports in China/KH may decrease in 2023 for the first time ever as the country struggles with a recession and continued zero-Covid controls.
The U.S. may see beef imports increase modestly as beef production falls and supplies of processing beef drop sharply. Rising U.S. beef prices and the strong dollar will further attract beef into the U.S. from other markets.
The number three and four beef import markets, Japan and South Korea, are expected to see minor increases in beef imports in 2023.