The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revised its expectations for the global beef and veal sector, forecasting exports to be up by 3% in 2015.

Eblex, the organisation for the UK’s beef and sheep industry, says that this increase means exports are forecast to increase to over 10m tonnes, while global beef production is expected to fall marginally by 1% to just over 59m tonnes.

A significant factor driving this change, it says, is an increase in shipments from India, EU member states and Paraguay.

Eblex says that there have been some suggestions that an increase in exports from Brazil could be probable for 2015/2016, despite production expected to decline.

This is due to a poor economic situation, which is likely to keep domestic consumption relatively similar to previous years and a devaluation of its currency making Brazilian beef more attractive in foreign markets, it says.

It says that the current forecasts from the USDA support this conclusion, pointing to a small increase in exports.

Brazilian exports will increase to approximately 2m tonnes; an increase of 5% on 2014, the current forecast suggests.

Global beef and veal exports

The report by the USDA also forecasts that India, the fifth largest producer of cow meat, will increase its shipments by 13% this year, Eblex says.

However, Eblex says with recent reports of the current government in India considering proposals to ban beef production, including Buffalo production, this could mean India’s position on the world stage for beef production may soon disappear.

The forecast suggests that China will increase its imports by 20% from last year to 500,000 t, Eblex says, while Russian exports are expected to fall by 18%.

Eblex says that the challenging economic climate, falling energy revenues and a much weaker rouble are all likely to contribute to a fall in product destined for Russia.

Looking to developments in the US market, where Eblex says the cow herd is only starting to show some signs of recovery for the first time since 2006, a decline in domestic beef production has resulted. This is making beef more expensive for US households, it says.