Beef Quarterly Q4 2021: US Beef Contraction Driving Global Tightness

The US is one of the most influential beef markets in the world. As a major producer, consumer, exporter, and importer, it touches all parts of the global beef market. In 2022, we expect US beef production to contract but exports to remain strong. What this means for the US and other exposed beef nations is explored in our feature article, along with all the regular updates in the regional columns – including the addition of Japan in this edition.

Report summary

Covid-19

Global Covid cases started rising again in late October, with Europe in particular seeing a large jump in case numbers. Some governments have reintroduced control measures to contain Covid outbreaks, including restrictions on foodservice. China’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid also restricts many foodservice channels. If the Covid measures are not successful, we expect to see reduced opportunities for beef in some foodservice channels in both regions over the coming months.

Brazil

Brazilian exports to China continue to be suspended, following reports of two atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy cases in September. Brazilian cattle prices have contracted dramatically as a result of the limited export opportunities.

Freight costs

Reduced investment in shipping and containers in 2019, Covid-related increased demand for goods and market imbalances in 2020 and 2021, and shipping congestion and cancellations have combined to push freight rates to stratospheric levels in Q4 2021. We believe global shipping disruptions will continue in 2022, and, as a result, costs for containerized freight, particularly reefers, will remain high.

Rabobank global cattle prices

Most regions saw cattle prices continue to rise in light of ongoing limited supplies and strong demand – Brazil being the notable exception, with reduced access to China leading to falling prices through September.

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  • Angus Gidley-Baird

    Senior Analyst – Animal Protein
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  • Justin Sherrard

    Global Strategist - Animal Protein
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  • Don Close

    Senior Analyst - Animal Protein
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  • Eva Gocsik

    Analyst - Animal Protein
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  • Chenjun Pan

    Senior Analyst - Animal Protein
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  • Wagner Yanaguizawa

    Analyst - Animal Protein
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  • Matz Beuchel

    Data Analyst — Animal Protein
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  • Genevieve Steven

    Analyst – Agriculture
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  • Christine McCracken

    Senior Analyst – Animal Protein
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  • Shiva Mudgil

    Analyst - Dairy, F&A Supply Chains
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  • Nan-Dirk Mulder

    Senior Analyst - Animal Protein
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  • Gorjan Nikolik

    Senior Analyst - Seafood
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  • Novel Sharma

    Analyst – Seafood
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