Global beef demand being driven by China

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

China driving global demand for beef
China driving global demand for beef

Related tags: International trade, Trade

The global beef market looks set to see demand continue to grow, with strong interest coming from China, according to a new Rabobank report.

It claimed that market fundamentals for the industry remained very positive, but that exports to China in 2014 were not expected to reach the growth levels of last year.

Firm demand, as well as the further tightening of supply due to drought-induced herd retention in the US and some adverse weather conditions in Brazil and Australia, pushed prices up across the globe in the first quarter of 2014.

Coupled with the impact of fluctuating exchange rates, the latter two countries have gained export share over the period at the expense of the US. However, the recent outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDV) in the US hog market, could have a significant impact on demand for beef over the spring and summer seasons.

Albert Vernooij, analyst, Rabobank, said: "Prospects for the global beef industry remain positive in Q2, with a further possible upside due to continuing pressured beef supply and scarce supply of competing proteins, which will continue to impact competitive positions.

"Brazilian cattle prices and exports have surged to record levels, and Australian droughts have encouraged historically high slaughter levels to meet global demand."

New Zealand is seeing positive export prospects, with strong demand likely from the US and China, while exports from Argentina are expected to remain low, as government limitations on export markets continue while they aim to keep domestic meat prices low, according to the report.

Mexico’s beef sector is expected to continue operating under margins into the second quarter of 2014. Prices in the EU are expected to hold firm at their current levels, with a stable supply of cattle.

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