Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University
The latest beef trade data shows June exports were up 15.2 percent year over year while beef imports were down 15.3 percent from last year. Strong exports are helping to offset domestic beef demand struggles while beef imports decreased in the face of increased domestic cow slaughter and lean beef production.
In the first half of 2022, beef exports were 7.9 percent above the record 2021 pace. South Korea is the largest beef export market in the January – June period, up 4.0 percent year over year and with a 23.3 percent share of total beef exports. Japan is a close second place with year-to-date exports down slightly by 0.2 percent and accounting for 22.8 percent of beef exports. Beef exports to the China/Hong Kong market are up 16.9 percent in the first half of the year making this the third largest beef export market with a 19.4 percent share of total beef exports. Year to date beef exports to the number four export market in Canada are down slightly by 0.2 percent. Canada accounts for 7.6 percent of beef exports thus far in 2022. Mexico has dropped to fifth place with year-to-date beef exports to Mexico down 16.5 percent year over year and a 7.4 percent share of total beef exports. Taiwan is the sixth largest beef export market with exports up 26.8 percent so far this year and a 6.4 percent share of total U.S. beef exports.
Year to date beef imports were up 18.1 percent year over year with June monthly import totals dropping to the lowest level since 2019. Beef imports were down year over year in June from all five of the top beef import sources. Canada is the largest source of beef imports, accounting for 25.1 percent of total imports so far this year and up 5.2 percent year over year. Mexico is the second largest source of beef imports with a year-to-date total up 22.8 percent over last year and accounting for 21.2 percent of beef imports. Brazil is the third largest source of beef imports, representing 18.3 percent of beef imports thus far in 2022. While beef imports from Brazil are up 145.3 percent for the year to date, the recent surge appears to be slowing with June beef imports from Brazil down 14.9 percent year over year. Beef imports from New Zealand are down 12.1 percent year over year in the first half of 2022 with June imports down 33.3 percent from one year ago. New Zealand accounts for 13.2 percent of beef imports so far this year and is the fourth largest beef import source. Australia is the fifth largest beef import source, accounting for 10.5 percent of beef imports in the first six months of the year. Beef imports from Australia are up 4.1 percent for the year to date following a 25.5 percent year over year monthly decline in June.
Beef trade has been generally supportive thus far this year, but the future is uncertain. Global and U.S. economic forecasts have been reduced as global economies continue to struggle. The U.S. dollar continues strong, which will be a headwind for future exports. U.S. beef production is expected to decline in the last part of the year and beyond reducing available beef supplies. All of these will likely impact beef trade going forward.