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CME: US Beef Output Forecast to Increase Annually

06 September 2018

US - Compared to the rates of growth in US beef production in recent years, the year-over-year increases during the next two years are forecast to be moderate, according to Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

Annually, US beef output is forecast to increase by about 3.3 per cent in 2018, after 3.8 per cent and 6.4 per cent gains in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The LMIC forecast is for 27.5 billion pounds (carcass weight) to be produced in 2019, a year-over-year rise of 1 per cent to 2 per cent. For 2020, the increase is expected to be about 1 per cent above 2018’s. Quarterly average production forecasts are shown in the graphic below.

A significant uncertainty is how much beef tonnage the US will be able to export. In the last 10 years (2008-2017), US beef tonnage exported as a per cent of production has ranged between 7.4 per cent (2009) and 10.9 per cent (2017). Note that those calculations are on a carcass basis, so do not include non-skeletal beef items like variety meats.

LMIC currently projects that percentage in 2018 at a record level of 11.4 per cent (see the following graphic). The preliminary forecast is for that percentage to remain rather stable in 2019 and 2020.

Over the last 10 years (2008-2017), US beef import tonnage has ranged between 7.8 per cent (2011) and 14.1 per cent (2015) of production. In recent years that percentage has been declining (11.1 per cent in 2018). LMIC expects that percentage to slip slightly during the next few years.

If the beef production and export/import forecasts materialize, what does that suggest for US per capita beef disappearance (consumption)? After increasing by 3 pounds (retail weight) per person since 2015, the gain in 2018 and 2019 is projected to be just 0.4 pounds.

In 2020, compared to 2019’s, that per person statistic could be flat to down slightly. Of course, there are several moving parts in that forecast, so do not get caught up in a possible small year-over-year decline. The point is, rates of increase are forecast to moderate as the US cowherd expansion phase winds-down. 

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