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China is Now Largest Beef Importing Country, Replacing the U.S. as Principle Driver of World Beef Prices

 
Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, offers his economic analysis of the beef cattle industry. This analysis is a part of the weekly series known as the "Cow Calf Corner" published electronically by Dr. Peel and Dr. Glenn Selk. Today, Dr. Peel continues his topic from last week - analyzing cattle and beef trade from 2018 and changes to U.S. Beef Import Markets.
 
"Total U.S. beef imports were 3.0 billion pounds in 2018, up 0.2 percent year over year and essentially unchanged for the last three years. Table 1 summarizes the 2018 rank and share of countries from which the U.S. imports beef. 
 
"Canada was the largest source of U.S. beef imports for the second consecutive year accounting for more than one quarter of total beef imports and up 6.8 percent year over year. Beef from Australia, which had been the largest source of beef imports for the prior five years, was down 3.1 percent, year over year in 2018. Beef imports from New Zealand were up 2.8 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year. Beef imports from Mexico decreased 11.4 percent in 2018, the first year over year decrease in imports of Mexican beef in ten years.   In 2018, the top four sources of beef imports represented 84.9 percent of total imports.
 
"The second tier of countries that export beef to the U.S. includes Nicaragua, up 17.6 percent over 2017 to a new record level of 5.2 percent of total beef imports. At number six is Brazil, up 2.2 percent year over year. Beef imports from Uruguay were down 4.5 percent from the previous year. The top seven countries accounted for 98.7 percent of total beef imports.
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