A brief review of the beef and cattle market following the diagnosis of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada and U.S. in 2003 is conducted. The focus is on the recent changes in the beef market experienced by major exporting and importing countries with special emphasis on the beef trade and cattle industry in the U.S. A single case of BSE in the U.S. has significantly disrupted global beef trade. Many countries banned beef imports from the U.S. and Canada. Continuation of these bans through 2004, particularly for the U.S., resulted in reduced beef exports. Brazil has become the number one beef exporter with estimated exports of 1.47 million tons in 2004 and is forecast to export 1.62 million tons in 2005. U.S. is the largest beef importer in the world. U.S. beef exports were a record 1.143 million tons in 2003. Beef exports from the U.S. for 2004 have been 0.202 million tons, just 17.7 percent of 2003 exports. The value of beef export losses for 2004 has been estimated as $2.73 billion. U.S. is forecast to export 0.272 million tons in 2005, representing a 35 percent increase over 2004. However, the beef export forecast for 2005 is still far below the pre-BSE levels. On the other hand U.S. beef imports have increased from 1.36 million tons in 2003 to 1.63 million tons in 2004. Imports are expected to reach 1.7 million tons in 2005. The lack of Canadian beef and live cattle imports, in conjunction with already tight U.S. supplies and strong demand, drove both beef and cattle prices up in the latter part of 2003. However, a decline of 29 percent in beef prices was experienced from December 2003 until March 2004 after the diagnosis of BSE in the U.S. BSE has also impacted live cattle trade, especially among the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners.


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