The coronavirus pandemic continues to negatively affect the Asian beef market, holding back production and international trade. However, it is predicted that the strength of the impact will depend on how quickly countries return to normalcy. This is according to a new IndexBox report titled Asia – Beef (Cattle Meat) – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights. In China, which was the first to recover from the pandemic, positive dynamics are expected in the second half of the year. In contrast, India, the second-largest beef producer after China, will face significant losses in production and exports.

The expected increase in China’s beef production is driven by growing cattle herds, particularly on large farms, and strong domestic demand to offset the ongoing pork shortage. In addition, China will continue to increase its imports, fuelled by new accreditations granted to meatpacking plants in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, as well as new trade agreements with these countries.

In India, cattle production may be reduced due to a pandemic shutdown, especially since animals are usually collected during home visits. Given that most of the production is destined for foreign markets, slowing economic growth in many countries could further undermine the Indian cattle industry.

Import growth is likely to slow in almost all other Asian markets, as widespread recession restricts consumption in middle- and low-income households, while restrictions and physical distancing reduce restaurant turnover, dampening demand for high-quality meat products.

Beef consumption by country in Asia

China (7,5 million tons) continues to be the largest cattle meat market in Asia, accounting for 35% of the total volume. Moreover, beef consumption in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest consumer, Pakistan (1,9 million tons), fourfold. India (1,5 million tons) ranked third in terms of total consumption with a share of 7,1%.

From 2009 to 2019, the average annual growth rate of beef consumption in China was 1,5%. Pakistan enjoys the highest growth (3,2%/year), while India suffers from decreasing demand (2,8%/year).

In value terms, China (US$93,3 billion) led the market alone. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Turkey (US$7,5 billion) with Pakistan third.

The countries with the highest levels of beef per capita consumption in 2019 were Uzbekistan (29kg/person), Kazakhstan (27kg/person), and South Korea (14kg/person). From 2009 to 2019, the biggest increases were in Turkey, while per capita consumption of beef for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Beef production in Asia

In 2019, Asia’s production of cattle meat expanded modestly to 19 million tons, an increase of 2% compared to the previous year’s figure. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of 1,7% from 2009 to 2019. The trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations throughout the analysed period. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2010 when the production volume increased by 3,8% year on year (y/y). Over the period under review, production reached peak volume in 2019 and is likely to continue growing in the immediate term. A mild increase in the number of producing animals and a relatively flat trend pattern in yield figures conditioned the generally positive trend in terms of output.

Production by country in Asia

China (6,5 million tons) is the largest cattle meat producer in the region. The country accounts for 34% of the total output. Moreover, beef production in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest producer, India (2,6 million tons), twofold. Pakistan (2 million tons) ranked third in terms of total production with an 11% share.

In China, beef production was relatively stable over the past decade. The remaining producing countries recorded the following average annual rates of production growth: India (0,6%/year) and Pakistan (3,4% per year).

Producing animals in Asia

In 2019, the number of animals slaughtered for beef production in Asia reached an approximate 116 million head of cattle in 2018. This number increased at an average annual rate of 1,1% from 2009 to 2019. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2010 when the number of producing animals increased by 2,9% y/y. Over the period under review, this number hit record highs in 2019 and is expected to retain growth shortly.

Exports in Asia

In 2019, the amount of cattle meat exported in Asia totalled 1,3 million tons, approximately matching figures of 2018. Generally, exports continue to indicate a prominent expansion. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2011 when exports increased by 67% against the previous year. Over the period under review, exports hit record highs at 1,7 million tons in 2013. However, from 2014 to 2019, exports remained lower.

In value terms, beef exports declined to US$4,1 billion (IndexBox estimates) in 2019.

Exports by country

India dominates beef trade, accounting for 1,1 million tons, which was almost 85% of total Asian exports in 2019. Hong Kong (84 000 tons) held a 6,6% share (based on tons) of total exports, which put it in second place, followed by Pakistan (4,5%).

From 2009 to 2019, the average annual growth rates concerning beef exports from India stood at 9,5%. At the same time, Pakistan (9,8%) and Hong Kong (8,1%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, Pakistan emerged as the fastest-growing exporter in Asia, with a compound annual growth rate of 9,8% from 2009 to 2019. While the share of India (51%), Hong Kong (3,6%) and Pakistan (2,8%) increased significantly, the shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analysed period.

In value terms, India (US$3,1 billion) remains the largest beef supplier in Asia, comprising 77% of total exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Hong Kong (US$289 million), with a 7,1% share of total exports.

In India, beef exports expanded at an average annual rate of 12% over the period from 2009 to 2019. The remaining exporting countries recorded the following average annual rates of export growth: Hong Kong (10,9%/year) and Pakistan (15,2%/year).

Beef export prices by country

The beef export price in Asia stood at US$3 158/ton in 2019, falling by 4,5% against the previous year. Over the period from 2009 to 2019, it increased at an average annual rate of 2,6%. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2011, when the export price increased by 21% y/y. The level of export peaked at US$3 306/ton in 2018 and then shrank in the following year.

Average prices varied somewhat among the major exporting countries. In 2019, the country with the highest price was Pakistan (US$3 815/ton), while India (US$2 831/ton) was among the lowest.

From 2009 to 2019, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Pakistan, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports in Asia

In 2019, cattle meat purchases abroad decreased by 12,7% to 3,9 million tons for the first time since 2008. This concluded a ten-year rising trend.

In value terms, beef imports contracted to US$19,9 billion (IndexBox estimates) in 2019. Imports, however, enjoyed prominent growth. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2010, when imports increased by 22% y/y. Over the period under review, imports attained reached a maximum of US$21,3 billion in 2018 and then shrank in 2019.

Beef imports by country

In 2019, China (1,1 million tons), followed by Japan (617 000 tons), South Korea (444 000 tons), and Hong Kong (365 000 tons) were the major importers of cattle meat, together making up 63% of total imports. Malaysia (147 000 tons), Indonesia (141 000 tons), Taiwan (137 000 tons), the United Arab Emirates (133 000 tons), the Philippines (125 000 tons), Iran (119 000 tons), Israel (114 000 tons), and Saudi Arabia (86 000 tons) made up 25% of total imports.

From 2009 to 2019, the biggest increases were in China, while purchases for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest beef importing markets in Asia were China (US$5 billion), Japan (US$3,5 billion), and South Korea (US$2,9 billion), with a combined share of 57% of total imports.

Import prices by country

The beef import price in Asia stood at US$5 039/ton in 2019, rising by 6,9% against the previous year. Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination. The country with the highest price was Taiwan (US$7 898/ton), while Malaysia (US$3 172/ton) was among the lowest.

From 2009 to 2019, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by South Korea, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth. IndexBox AI Platform