U.S. beef imports for 2011 are forecast at 2.18 billion pounds, about 5 percent below year-earlier levels. Second-quarter imports are forecast at 570 million pounds, or 17 percent below the second quarter of last year. U.S. beef imports have been impeded by the declining dollar value. The U.S. dollar has been on a marked downtrend since May 2010, but last month it hit a new low of .91 AUD/USD against the Australian dollar, and in June it has thus far posted a further low against the New Zealand dollar of 1.22 NZD/USD. Beef imports from Australia and New Zealand through April were 24 and 7 percent below 2010 levels. Total third-quarter imports are forecast at 595 million pounds, or nearly even with year-earlier levels, and fourth-quarter imports are forecast to be 27 percent higher. Beef imports are expected to increase next year to 2.48 billion pounds — or 13 percent higher yearover- year — largely as more product is shipped from Oceania.