Global beef quarterly Q4 2023: An ongoing tale of two markets

The tale of two markets continues, with high prices and contracting production in the US and increasing production and low prices in the Southern Hemisphere.

Global beef markets continue to be a two-part story: the ongoing strong consumer demand in the US – although this may be weakening – accompanied by reduced cattle and beef supplies, and the weak demand and high inventory levels in Asia. Meanwhile, Southern Hemisphere production centers continue to increase volumes. Beef production in our monitored markets is expected to decline 1% YOY in 2023. The increases in Australia and Brazil have not been enough to offset the declines in Europe and the US. We forecast that 2024 will play out in a similar fashion.

Matching the two-part story of global beef markets, we continue to see North American cattle prices track at high levels, while in Southern Hemisphere countries, prices remain soft. Australian cattle prices dropped dramatically – down 28% since June – while New Zealand and Brazil also saw prices fall, but by smaller amounts. Cattle prices in the US were steady, while Canadian prices rose 3% between June and October.

The conflict in the Middle East is not expected to materially impact beef trade. The import volumes of Israel and the Palestinian territories make up approximately 1% of global beef imports. If the conflict extends across the broader Middle East and North Africa region, the impact on global beef trade will remain relatively small.