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USDA Livestock & Poultry: World Markets & Trade

13 November 2012

USDA Livestock & Poultry: World Markets & Trade - October 2012USDA Livestock & Poultry: World Markets & Trade - October 2012

USDA Livestock & Poultry: World Markets & Trade

Indian Beef Exports Surge To Continue in 2013

India’s beef exports are forecast 29 percent higher to a record of 2.16 million tons. Accounting for nearly a quarter of world trade, India expands while other countries make only marginal volume increases.

World's Leading Beef Exporters

Rising demand for low-cost product is fueled by many smaller, emerging and price sensitive Asian and Middle Eastern markets. Expanding markets for processing meat as well as halalcertified product provide opportunities for export growth.

Shipments to Asia Fuel Indian Beef Exports

Beef and Veal: 2013 Forecast Overview

World Production: Continuing Gains by India, South America Offset U.S. Decline

World production is forecast slightly higher for the second consecutive year. Strong expansion by India and to a lesser extent, Brazil and Argentina more than offsets lower production forecast for the United States and the EU.

World Beef Production

U.S. Long Term Decline Accelerates

The world’s largest beef producer, the United States, is forecast to tumble 4 percent to 11.3 million tons. Tight supplies of cattle available for slaughter persist on declining inventories triggered by recent years’ sharp reductions in the calf crop and reduced imports of live animals.

Declining US Cattle Supply

Mexico Follows Similar Decline

Mexico’s production is forecast 1 percent lower to 1.8 million tons largely on reduced supplies of slaughter-ready cattle although high feed prices and marginal pasture conditions will also limit weight gains.

EU Downward Trend Continues, Albeit at a Slower Rates

EU production is forecast to fall 1 percent to 7.7 million tons on increasing input costs and reductions in government support, despite increased efficiency. This reduction is a continuation over the past decade during which production fell 7 percent.

The dairy herd is also shrinking due to increased milk production efficiency as smaller and less efficient farms exit the industry. Although continuing genetic improvements and the fading effects of the bluetongue disease are expected to raise reproductive efficiency, they are not expected to offset the decline in the breeding herd.

Steep Production Decline for Korea

Korea’s production is forecast to drop 10 percent to 301,000 tons. A drop in live cattle prices and the implementation of government policy to reduce the cattle inventory by encouraging cow slaughter resulted in a production surge in 2012. This will negatively impact the availability of slaughter-ready cattle in 2013 and reduce beef production.

India’s Surge Forecast to Continue

India’s bovine herd continues to expand in response to strong demand for dairy products, resulting in a 1 percent growth forecast during 2013 to almost 330 million head. Private sector investment has led to notable improvements in dairy management practices, including extension services, veterinary care and improved genetics. Rain deficits causing failed crops in parts of India during 2012 (Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan) have led farmers to focus on dairying.

Beef production is forecast to climb 14 percent to nearly 4.2 million tons fueled by robust foreign demand. Rising exports are triggering the construction of slaughterhouses providing farmers with a new market for non-productive buffalo heifers, bulls and bull calves. Indian federal and state laws prohibit the slaughter of cattle for religious concerns. Buffalo slaughter is allowed, although it is restricted to bulls and unproductive heifers. Considering the profitability of meat production in India, farmers now have an incentive to salvage and sell buffalo bull calves which were previously unused. Given this option, some farmers are fattening calves for slaughter, although the practice is still uncommon and Indian carcass weights remain low compared to other countries.

India: Beef Production Grows on Herd Size and Slaughter Rate

Brazilian Production Higher on Domestic and International Demand

Brazil’s production is forecast up nearly 2 percent to a new record of almost 9.4 million tons on strong domestic and foreign demand. A potentially weaker Brazilian real combined with record increased cattle supplies (forecast to grow 3 percent during 2013) is likely to generate competitive prices in the world market.

Other Major Producers Forecast to Continue Gains Largely on Herd Rebuilding

Argentina’s production is forecast to continue to recover and is up 6 percent to nearly 2.8 million tons. Increased slaughter will be supported by growing cattle supplies as a consequence of herd rebuilding initiated in 2010 after severe drought and liquidation. Additional production growth is constrained as smaller exports (180,000 MT in 2013 compared with 621,000 MT in 2009) discourages marketing cattle at heavier weights as younger and lighter cattle are typically demanded by the domestic market. Despite expected high inflation rates and continuously increasing production costs, historically high cattle prices are still likely to provide positive returns to the cattle sector, encouraging the continuation of herd rebuilding, albeit at a more moderate pace.

Australia’s production is forecast to rise 2 percent to nearly 2.2 million tons. Following the end of a near 10-year drought in 2010, greatly improved pasture conditions and fodder supplies have supported herd rebuilding which is expected to continue through 2013. In addition to greater slaughter, weights are forecast to remain near record levels.

For the first time since 2007, China’s production is forecast higher (up nearly 1 percent to 5.6 million tons) on robust domestic demand, continued government support and expansion of larger-sized commercial operations. The government has subsidized beef cow genetic improvement over the past few years and invested in protecting and improving natural grasslands in major cattle grazing areas in west China. Larger commercial slaughterhouses are signing more contracts with cattle producers and offering better prices than private cattle collectors, improving profit margins and sector efficiency.

Trade: India Continues Expansion, Driving Exports Higher

India is expected to account for three-quarters of forecast export growth as it expands in a number of markets with plentiful supplies and competitive prices. Among beef importing countries, the increase in demand will be relatively moderate, except for the United States, where additional supplies are needed to offset lower production. The United States accounts for over 50 percent of global import growth but imports of fresh, chilled and frozen product are supplied by a relatively few countries.


India Propels World Exports

India’s exports are forecast 29 percent higher at record 2.16 million tons, comparable with Brazil’s world record exports of 2.19 million tons in 2007. India now accounts for nearly a quarter of world beef trade compared to a mere 8 percent in 2009. This rapid expansion is fueled by demand for lowcost product in many smaller, emerging and price sensitive markets (Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia) as well as the ability to provide halal product. However, exports remain constrained by limited access to many key markets due to disease restrictions. While India controls foot and mouth disease (FMD) through vaccination programs, it does not maintain a FMD status classification with the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health).

Indian Beef Exports Climb on Increasing Supplies

Key Exporters in South America and Oceania to Make Gains Largely on Ample Supplies

Brazil’s exports at nearly 1.5 million tons are forecast to recover at the same pace as 2012 (4 percent). Ample supplies, expected weakness of the Real and stable cattle prices due to increased availability of slaughter-ready cattle will improve competitiveness. Brazil can ship to markets that India cannot (Russia, EU), enabling preservation of their position in many key markets.

Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay are forecast to make gains of 6 percent, 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively, on greater supplies. Argentina’s growth is limited by high cattle prices and an overvalued peso, but shipments to the EU and some other niche markets are exceptions. Although Paraguay and Uruguay ship significant volumes to Russia, Paraguay has become dependent on that market since its outbreaks of FMD in 2011/2012 cut its access to many markets. Uruguay has benefitted by expanding shipments to former Paraguayan markets Chile, Israel and others.

Australia and New Zealand’s exports are both forecast to rise 2 percent to 1.4 million tons and 529,000 tons, respectively. While both countries benefit from strong Asian demand, they also are key U.S. suppliers.

Export Outlook Mixed in North America

U.S. exports are forecast down 1 percent at 1.1 million tons, but still account for 10 percent of production. A relatively weak dollar is somewhat offset by higher prices as U.S. supplies tighten. Competitive pricing remains a challenge in the global market although demand from Mexico and major Asian markets remains strong.

Rebounding from a three year decline, Canada’s exports are expected to increase 5 percent to 415,000 tons. Limited production and the continued strength of the Canadian dollar will likely constrain additional growth in exports, keeping shipments below historical levels.

Mexico’s exports are forecast to rise nearly 13 percent to 225,000 tons on not only increased volumes to the United States, but also greater shipments to Russia, Japan and Korea.


United States Imports Surge on Tight Domestic Supplies

U.S. imports are forecast to surge 11 percent to nearly 1.2 million tons. Lower domestic cow slaughter will reduce availability of domestic cow beef, in part supporting increased imports. A sluggish economic recovery continues to depress demand and a relatively weak dollar constrain additional imports.

US Net Beef Importer Again

US Beef Imports to Consumption Ratio Rebounds

Mexican Imports Increase to Offset Lower Production and Higher Exports

Mexico’s imports are forecast up 17 percent to 350,000 tons. Tight supplies and increased exports to higher priced markets are expected to bolster import demand.

Reduced Production in Japan and South Korea Generate Higher Imports

Japan’s imports are forecast 1 percent higher at 750,000 tons offsetting slightly lower production and higher consumption. Although high U.S. prices might deter some purchases, the United States is expected to capture increased market share. As there has been no official modification of policy, the current forecast assumes no changes in Japanese market access limitations for U.S. beef.

Reduced domestic supplies will also bolster Korea’s imports, forecast to increase 8 percent to 405,000 tons. The resumption of Canadian beef imports and the implementation of the KORUS FTA are not expected to have significant impact in 2013. The Korean duty on U.S. beef imports will decline from the current 40 percent to 37.3 percent, but this decrease in duties is not expected to offset higher U.S. beef prices.

Middle East and North African Demand Higher

Middle East and North African demand is forecast to increase, benefiting key suppliers India and Brazil. Higher imports are expected for Algeria (20 percent), Saudi Arabia (5 percent), Israel (8 percent) as well as a wide section of smaller markets such as Oman, Libya and the United Arab Emirates. Growing populations, limited domestic supplies, domestic resource constraints and ample Indian and Brazilian supplies at competitive prices are driving regional demand. Only Egypt is forecast lower (2 percent to 225,000 tons) as a rise in domestic production offsets consumption growth.

Russia Returns to Second Largest Importer

Russia is currently forecast to be the world’s second largest importer (after the United States), up one percent to nearly 1.1 million tons. Imports have consistently accounted for about 45 percent of consumption in recent years.

US and Russia Trade Leading Beef Importer Position Again

Pork and Swine: 2013 Forecast Overview

World Pork Production Virtually Flat as High Feed Costs Temper Growth

Global production is forecast nominally higher to a record 104.7 million tons. Rising feed costs, which shrink profit margins, will only be partially offset by improving efficiencies and intervening government programs in some countries.

China Dominates Global Pork Production Growth

China, accounting for nearly half of world production, is forecast 1 percent higher to a record 52.0 million tons. The anemic growth is largely attributed to weaker consumer demand resulting from relatively slow economic growth, which, squeezed by rising feed costs, has tightened producer margins. Poor hog prices in 2012 slowed expansion of swine production facilities and further encouraged small-scale producers to exit the industry. This is expected to result in nominally lower breeding stock in 2013 and only a slight growth in hogs available for slaughter. However, production efficiencies continue to improve as large and modern farms expand at a faster pace than the exit of backyard operations. The government also continues to support the pork industry through productive sow subsidies, boosting breeding stock imports to record levels, and occasional pork purchases in an effort to support prices.

Brazil’s production is expected to grow 2 percent, to a record 3.3 million tons, supported mostly by strong international demand and producer optimism for continued recovery in export markets. However, a major concern for hog producers is the recent increase in feed grain prices, which could squeeze margins. The government has already intervened in the market with subsidized corn auctions to protect the industry, extended deadlines for credit payment, and temporarily suspended state taxes.

Russia is expected to increase production by 1 percent to 2.1 million tons, although higher feed grain prices are expected to constrain expansion. Large farms are increasing production through economies of size and scale, supported by government programs. However, small private farms, many in regions affected by outbreaks of African Swine Fever, have been forced to exit the industry.

EU production is expected to ease by 1 percent to 22.6 million tons as the industry copes with rising feed costs and stringent EU animal husbandry requirements. These requirements are resulting in a restructuring of the industry, with the most inefficient commercial farms exiting production. The pig crop is expected to remain constant, while higher feed costs cause lighter slaughter weights.

The United States is forecast down 1 percent to 10.4 million tons as high feed costs are expected to dampen production through reductions in farrowing and lighter slaughter weights as producers attempt to minimize feed costs. Only modest reductions to the breeding stock are forecast, leaving swine producers prepared to accelerate pig production in the latter part of 2013, when the feed grain outlook is expected to be better.

Canada’s production is lowered 1 percent to 1.8 million tons as high feed costs and reduced demand for feeder hogs in the United States are expected to adversely impact the recovery in the hog sector, which began in early 2012. Faced with higher input costs and financial difficulties, some smaller producers are expected to liquidate inventories beginning late 2012 and into 2013, resulting in a smaller pig crop and slaughter in 2013. Slaughter weights will reflect producers’ attempts to mitigate feed costs.

Japan’s output is projected down 1 percent to 1.3 million tons as producer margins are negatively impacted by high feed costs coupled with low pork prices. Reduced breeding stock leads to a smaller pig crop, while rising feed costs push producers to slaughter at lighter weights. Weak consumer demand caused by slow income growth is expected to pressure prices.

Mexico’s production is expected to fall 1 percent to 1.2 million tons as rising feed costs are expected to result in lower slaughter weights despite government support. Hog producers continue to improve efficiency through the incorporation of new breeding lines that are better able to adapt to the Mexican production system and enhanced farm management techniques, mitigating the decline in sow numbers.

South Korea is forecast 2 percent lower to 1.1 million tons as producer margins are squeezed by record high feed grain prices. Other factors dampening production are regulations for hog operations including provincial laws designating areas restricted from livestock production, animal space requirements, stricter requirements for manure disposal, FMD vaccination requirements, and traceability.

Global Pork Trade Continues Slow Expansion

Imports are expected to rise 1 percent to a record 6.8 million tons with greater demand from countries where growth in domestic production cannot keep pace with rising demand.

China's Imports on New, Higher Plain

China’s imports jump 5 percent to a record 815,000 tons, continuing on a new, higher plain. Whereas disease outbreaks caused the surges in 2008 and 2011, the reason for larger volumes forecast in 2013 is slow domestic production growth not keeping pace with rising demand. Import growth is further supported by more competitive prices vis-à-vis domestic pork and constant reports of domestic food safety cases. It is worth noting that although China is the world’s 3rd largest importer, imported pork accounts for less than 2 percent of consumption.

Russia is forecast to grow by 3 percent to 1.0 million tons, mostly from Belarus, which uses its privilege as a member of the Customs Union to export duty-free products to Russia. Additionally, under Russia’s WTO accession, in-quota tariff rates drop from 15 to 0 percent, which is expected to have a positive effect on trade. Larger volumes are also expected from minor suppliers Chile and Ukraine, as they expand their footholds in the Russian market.

Mexico’s imports are forecast up 2 percent to a record 690,000 tons due largely to flat domestic production. Pork’s competitive pricing vis-à-vis beef and changing consumer preferences are expected to support demand. The majority of Mexico’s pork imports consists of hams and mechanically deboned meat for the preparation of sausages, deli hams, and other cold cuts. There is growing consumption of these products by the middle and upper income consumers.

South Korea is raised by 1 percent to 505,000 tons as stagnant domestic production is expected to encourage a small growth in imports. A new plain may be established that is lower than record 2011 imports in response to the FMD outbreak, yet significantly higher than trade before that. Imports will be more competitive with domestic pork as tariff rates for U.S. and EU will be incrementally lower in accordance with Free Trade Agreement tariff reduction schedules.

Ukraine falls 11 percent to 200,000 tons following unusually large volumes in 2012. Imports are highly regulated by the government and sensitive to consumer disposable income as well as prices of domestically produced meats.

U.S. imports are forecast 1 percent lower to 363,000 tons due principally to tight supplies as well as an unfavorable exchange rate in the major supplier, Canada.

Japan continues to be the world’s leading pork importer with volumes forecast flat at 1.3 million tons as competition between low-priced domestic pork and imported chilled pork intensifies. Additionally, demand is tempered by slow income growth and price conscious consumers.


EU exports are forcast up 4 percent to a record 2.4 million tons due to strong demand from Russia and China and the low value of the Euro and Danish Kroner. A growing number of member states are eligible to ship to China, which is expected to further support exports. Demand from other major markets is expected to remain static. Elimination of export restitutions for pork by the European Commission is not expected to significanlty decrease their competitiveness in third markets.

Brazil is expected to expand by 7 percent to 645,000 tons mainly on strong demand from a number of importers, mainly Hong Kong, Angola, Argentina, and Singapore, as an expected weaker Real enhances competitiveness. Exporters are also focusing on expanding sales to China, a newly opened market.

U.S. exports are forecast up 1 percent to a record 2.4 million tons based on strong Mexican and Russian demand and incremental increases in shipments to major Asian markets. U.S. product will face greater competition from European and Brazilian pork in several markets, but is expected to be very competitive with Canadian pork.

Following a record year, Canada’s exports are expected to decline by 4 percent to 1.2 million tons based on limited exportable supplies and unfavorable exchange rates. Canadian pork is expected to be less competitive vis-à-vis imports from competitors in Japan and Russia, and domestic production in the United States.

Although a net importer, China’s shipments are forecast down 7 percent to 200,000 tons due to weak demand from Asian markets. China exports fresh and processed products to Hong Kong, and processed products to Japan and other Asian markets.

Chile’s exports are expected to rise 3 percent to 175,000 metric tons mostly on greater shipments to South American markets and Russia.

Broiler Meat: 2013 Forecast Overview

Record World Broiler Production Constrained by Rising Production Costs

Global production is forecast up 1 percent to a record 83.5 million tons. Demand for animal protein particularly in China, Brazil and India continues to stimulate global poultry production as a highly competitively priced option. Higher feed costs over the past few years have eroded profit margins, as larger producers have consolidated for cost-savings synergies and to help maintain margins.

World Broiler Meat Production Continues to Rise.....

.....But, at a Declining Rate

China, India and Brazil Boost World Expansion

Rising incomes, an expanding middle class and stronger demand for animal protein have propelled production in China, India and Brazil. Combined, these countries represent 85 percent of the forecasted growth in global production for 2013.

China is forecast to increase 3 percent to 14.1 million tons as consumer demand for meat protein continues to grow. However, higher feed prices are expected to dampen the rate of growth despite producers’ attempts to shift to lower-priced feed.

Brazil is forecast to rise 2 percent to 13.0 million tons. Production is supported by improved demand and abundant feed supplies. Government support may also mitigate the full impact of rising feed costs.

India is forecast to increase 8 percent higher to 3.4 million tons. Despite the past years’ outbreaks of avian influenza, production is expanding rapidly on rising domestic consumption, changing culturally driven tastes and preferences, and ample domestic feed supplies.

Russia is forecast to increase 4 percent to 2.9 million tons as larger, modern facilities come into full operation. Government programs are aimed at mitigating rising feed costs and supporting the construction of new poultry farms.

The EU is forecast to rise 1 percent to 9.6 million tons as consumers substitute poultry for red meat. Production is expected to increase in all major EU producing countries, except France, where the industry is restructuring following the bankruptcy of the Doux poultry company, the largest exporter of broiler meat in the EU.

Argentina and Turkey are forecast up 4 and 1 percent to 2.0 and 1.7 million tons, respectively. Production is supported by greater domestic and foreign market demand. Argentina continues to expand production with government credit, ample supplies of feed grains and a more vertically integrated and efficient sector. Turkey production is higher to meet ever-increasing regional Middle East demand, as well as to offset short domestic supplies of red meat.

The United States, the world’s largest broiler meat producer, is forecast to decline 1 percent to 16.3 million tons on tighter margins due to higher feed costs. Thailand is forecast to reduce output 6 percent to 1.5 million tons after last year’s supply glut and this year’s higher production costs, reversing the recent growth trend.


Global exports are forecast 2 percent higher to a record 10.1 million tons, primarily on East Asian and Sub-Saharan African demand. Traditional suppliers (Brazil, the United States and EU) will continue to dominate the world market, while smaller suppliers (Thailand, Turkey, and Argentina) expand their market share in new and developing markets.

Brazil, the leading exporter, is forecast to rise by 3 percent to 3.6 million tons driven by East Asia (China and Hong Kong) and the Middle East (Iraq and Egypt). Gains to the Middle East are supported by their ability to ship whole bird and halal-certified product provides comparative advantages.

The EU is up 4 percent to 1.1 million tons as more exports to Western and Southern African markets are expected to offset less to Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and China.

Thailand is forecast to rise by 7 percent to 580,000 tons based on the reopening of the EU market for fresh broiler meat. Additional growth is expected in Southeast Asia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

Argentina and Turkey are forecast to boost exports by 10 and 4 percent to 285,000 and 260,000 tons, respectively. Both countries are expected to expand in emerging markets in the Middle East. Turkey continues to direct most shipments to Iraq, eroding U.S. and Brazilian market shares. Large investments in expanding export capacity will improve competiveness in shipping to developing markets such as Libya.

U.S. exports are forecast to decline 2 percent to 3.2 million tons due to tighter domestic supplies and waning demand by Russia and Hong Kong. U.S. exports have remained relatively flat over the past few years as declines in some major markets have been offset by gains in a large number of smaller markets.

Turkey Meat: 2013 Forecast Overview


World production is forecast down 1 percent to 5.4 million tons. Decline in the United States offsets gains in the EU and Brazil. The United States is expected to reduce production as a result of higher feed prices.


Global exports are forecast to fall by 3 percent to 649,000 tons as U.S. exports decline due to tighter supplies. Brazilian exports are forecast to increase while EU and Canadian exports are expected to remain steady. Mexico’s imports will likely be affected by tighter supplies of turkey in the United States. Imports by South Africa are forecast to rise as a result of growing consumer demand.

November 2012

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