Trade data for the month of January was released and beef exports were 242.6 million pounds, down 16% from a year ago while beef imports were up 4% to 365.7 million pounds. January was the third highest beef import on record behind June 2005 (377.6) and July 2020 (376.7). Gains in beef exports to Mexico (+31%) and Japan (+7) from last year, were more than offset by lower shipments to South Korea (-37%), China (-25%), Taiwan (-34%), and Hong Kong (-14%). January beef imports saw higher levels from most suppliers with Brazil leading the way at 104.8 million pounds, up 5% from a year earlier.
Imports from Brazil were the highest monthly import level recorded, the second highest is January 2022 at nearly 100 million pounds. The last two years, Brazil has shipped large quantities of beef to the U.S. under the “Other Countries” TRQ, and has reportedly occupied more than 90% of this TRQ. Further details can be found in the USDA FAS report “Reviewing the Tariff-Rate Quotas for U.S. Beef Imports” released in December 2022.