Global beef production and exports forecast to rise in 2021
Hannah Clarke, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (UK)
18 November 2020
In its latest quarterly outlook, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts that global beef production in 2021 could rise by 2% to 61.5 million tonnes.
This is based on the USDA’s current forecast of global beef production this year of 60.4 million tonnes, which is 2% lower than 2019. The forecast growth in production in 2021 is expected to come as global economies strengthen, consumption improves and supply chains recover following on from disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 forecast is still slightly below pre-pandemic production levels seen in 2019 though.
Along with an anticipated growth in production, the USDA projects that global beef exports could rise by 3%. Improving economic conditions and recovering foodservice markets are expected to drive demand, with most key exporters seeing growth in shipments in 2021. It is expected that Asian demand will support shipments from the US and Brazil during the year. However, lower production in Argentina and Australia (both driven by producers retaining stock to rebuild their herds) is expected to limit exports from these countries.
Global beef imports are also expected to grow but by a more modest 1%, driven by improving foodservice demand. It is expected that Chinese beef imports will rise by another 4% in 2021, having increased by a forecast 21% year-on-year in 2020. However, Chinese pork production is expected to rebound in 2021, as producers continue to recover from ASF. This may dampen growth in beef imports somewhat.
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