Global beef consumption and production on the up
Global beef consumption and production is up and all is looking strong for the beef complex, according to the latest Rabobank Beef Quarterly report.
However, pressures are building in some markets, so the industry must not let complacence creep in.
Angus Gidley-Baird, senior analyst – Animal Protein, said: “US weather conditions, low domestic export prices in Brazil, and changes to live cattle and carabeef trading in Asia have the potential to change the course of the global market.”
A roundup of the global highlights
US-China trade war
On 23rd March, President Donald Trump announced his intention to impose tariffs amounting to USD 60bn on imports from China.
In turn, China initially retaliated with a list of 128 US products, soon followed by a further list of 106 items that would be subject to a 25% tariff. Included on this list was beef.
But beef trade between the two countries is limited – and realistically, the imposition of a 25% tariff is only expected to have minimal impact on the US beef industry and even less on broader global beef trade.
Australian live sheep trade
On 8th April, Australian television broadcast footage showing distressed, unwell, and dead sheep on board a vessel sailing from Australia to the Middle East.
The footage has raised concerns about animal welfare conditions on ships, along with standards and policing around these.
At the time of writing, a government-initiated review has just been released, which includes recommendations to decrease stocking densities, as well as measures to reduce heat stress and increase monitoring and reporting.
US production remains strong
The revised forecast of 5% production growth in 2018 still holds true, with the early-placed cattle on feed now starting to be turned off.
Escalating feed costs will impact the cost of gain and will limit the carcase weight increases.
Ongoing dry conditions also threaten increased beef cow slaughter numbers, which are currently tracking 10% higher for the year-to-date (mid-April), compared to 2017.