While favorable exchange rates aid U.S. beef exports, the converse is true for imports of beef to the United States. Product flow from major suppliers has been challenged by strong currencies in addition to supply limitations, namely from Australia and Canada. U.S. beef imports through July were 17 percent below yearearlier levels—26 percent lower from Canada and 29 percent lower from Australia. The U.S. dollar hit a new low in July against the Canadian dollar at .95 CAD per USD, as did the Australian dollar at .93 AUD per USD. Since then, the exchange rate has only marginally improved for exporters of beef to the United States, and supply limitations from these countries have further hampered imports. Herd rebuilding in Australia has constrained the supply of beef for over a year and, as with the U.S. cattle herd, Canadian cattle inventories are at cyclical and historic lows. Increases in beef imports are expected to begin in the fourth quarter, with 13 percent year-over-year growth forecast. Beef import totals for 2011 are forecast at 2.09 billion pounds, and 15-percent growth is forecast for 2012, at 2.41 billion pounds.