USMEF expects strong beef exports in 2021


By Carol Ryan Dumas, Capital Press (OR)

Nov 13, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a bite out of U.S. beef exports due to foodservice shutdowns, weaker economies and supply chain disruptions. But the export picture in 2021 is looking brighter.


The global economy is expected to contract 4.4% this year and rebound 5.7% next year, and U.S. beef exports will benefit from limited global beef supplies, said Erin Borror, an economist with the U.S. Meat Export Federation.


U.S. beef exports January through September were down 8% year over year. But USMEF expects a strong rebound in 2021 with a 9% increase, she said during a podcast for USMEF’s strategic planning conference this week.


Headlining the drivers for global beef exports is the decrease in production in Australia. It’s forecast to be down 15% in 2020 with a corresponding 17% decrease in exports following two years of drought, she said.


That shortage out of Australia — the biggest competitor for the U.S. — is part of the expectation for strong U.S. beef exports in 2021, she said.


Australia’s carcass prices are the highest of all major beef exporters and have been higher than U.S. prices since June, she said


Another driver is Chinese demand. Global beef exports to China January through August were up 24% over the same period a year earlier, with China accounting for 31% of global exports, she said.


U.S. beef exports to China/Hong Kong were up 11%...


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