Brazil ranks fifth in sales of beef to U.S. market

Jan Shepel
The United States was among the top four nations importing beef from Brazil in 2020, when it acquired 59,544 metric tons.

The United States was among the top four nations importing beef from Brazil in 2020, when it acquired 59,544 metric tons. That was up 53.8% over the previous year due to the opening of the U.S. market to Brazil’s fresh beef in February 2020.

Those figures are according to the Brazilian beef industry association Abrafrigo which also reported revenue from beef exports last year were 11% higher at $9.4 billion. The Brazilian cattle export numbers noted that Brazilian beef exports are at record levels.

The Brazilian trade group said it expected to see a continuation of China’s purchasing pace and further increases of exports to the European Union, some Arab countries and new markets. China was the largest buyer of Brazilian beef with 1.18 billion metric tons of imports; Egypt was the second-largest customer at 127,953 metric tons.

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From January through September 2021, Americans imported the equivalent of $216.18 million (US$) worth of Brazilian beef, a number that is three times higher than the same period in 2020 when $60.34 million (US$) came from the South American country to U.S. shores. In volume, the United States bought 38.69 thousand tons of frozen beef from Brazil in the first nine months of this year.

By comparison, during the same period last year, 12.89 thousand tons were shipped from Brazil to the United States.

Overall, the U.S. market has imported 2.48 billion pounds of beef (from all sources) from January through September 2021, which is down 6.2% from 2020. The most beef imports come to the United States from Canada, followed by Mexico, New Zealand and Australia. Brazilian imports stand in fifth place.

The data on U.S. imports of beef and where they came from is part of a report from the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). It detailed U.S. beef imports from January through September 2021: Canadian imports were up 15.3% to 708 million pounds; Mexico’s beef imports to the U.S. market were down 7.7% with 497 million pounds of beef imported this year through September.  For the first nine months of the year, imports from New Zealand were 419 million pounds (down 4.88%) and imports from Australia were 299 million pounds (down 44% from a year earlier.)

Brazilian sales of beef to the United States stand at 240 million pounds of beef for the first nine months of this year, which is 61% higher than year-earlier levels.

Other countries listed as beef importers to the United States were ranked by the ERS: 6) Nicaragua; 7) Uruguay; 8) Argentina; 9) Costa Rica; 10) Ireland; 11) Netherlands; 12) Japan; 13) United Kingdom; 14) France; 15) Chile; 16) Poland; 17) Honduras; 18) Croatia; 19) Lithuania; 20) Spain.