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Strong demand for red meat creates the potential for more market volatility

A livestock economist says continued strong demand for US beef and pork on the global market is good news, but it does create the potential for more volatility in prices.

University of Missouri livestock economist Scott Brown says there’s higher trade that could still happen in front of us.  “That gets us higher prices,” he says.  “Yet if one of the biggies were to pull down in terms of trade with us, that could spell lower prices ahead for us.”

US beef exports hit the $1 billion mark in August and China was a big contributor to that.

But, Brown says China’s demand ebbs and flows, and says pork exports in 2020 are a good example.  “We exported roughly a billion pounds more pork out of the United States and much of that went to China,” he says.  “Now we’re looking at 2021 and China’s been taking less pork.  I think it’s a little bit different story and I think we can continue to see growth in beef trade to China.”

However, if China’s pork production continues its recovery, domestic pork consumption could tick back up and that could trigger a decline in demand for US beef. 

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