After a successful year in 2022 for beef exports, Rabobank’s Global Beef Quarterly report for the first quarter of 2023 predicts that 2023 will see a softening of consumer sentiment and weaker beef prices. According to the report, the decline in US beef production is expected to cause a redistribution of global beef supplies and an overall tightening of the market. However, Rabobank predicts that Chinese demand for beef will pick up in the second half of the year, which will boost global beef prices.

Rabobank advises stakeholders to keep an eye on China, which will be a more prominent player in the market after COVID-19 lockdowns. With the rise in retail beef sales and the rapidly growing pre-prepared dish market, Rabobank expects increased beef consumption in China. While Australia’s volumes will likely lift as prices ease, further supported by the potential increase in demand for chilled products with the growth in China’s retail beef sales, New Zealand exporters will have opportunities to capture more value as e-commerce and the prepared dish market continue to grow.

Rabobank predicts additional trade opportunities for Brazil, China’s largest import destination, in the coming year. However, a case of bonie spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) could affect trade flow. Meanwhile, Europe’s beef production was down in 2022 by about 1.3%, and its exports declined by 19% and are expected to remain sluggish in 2023. Mexico, on the other hand, is expected to amplify production in the coming year, with a 2% lift in beef volumes.

Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle hit New Zealand in mid-February, affecting the country’s agriculture and damaging farms and infrastructure. While the North Island and upper South Island were greatly impacted, the western and southern portion of the South Island remain dry. Rabobank expects the substantial bank across the country to help support cattle prices. Overall, New Zealand’s beef production declined by 4% to 26,774 tonnes in 2022.

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