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Beef exports climbed new peak in November

U.S. Meat Export Federation Published on 17 January 2011

meat_regNovember exports of U.S. beef reached their highest monthly volumes in more than two years, according to results compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef export value in November was $389.5 million, an increase of nearly 50 percent over November 2009. By volume (101,323 metric tons), beef exports exceeded the year-ago level by 32 percent. For the first 11 months of 2010, exports were 18 percent above 2009 in terms of volume (964,369 metric tons) and 30 percent higher by value ($3.67 billion). The value total is about 1 percent ahead of the 2003 pace when beef exports went on to set a single-year record of $3.86 billion. Exports accounted for 11.6 percent of production with a per-head value equivalent of $150.36 ($178. 20 in November) - up dramatically from the 2009 totals of 9.8 percent and $117.80.

"November was clearly one of the best months on record for U.S. meat exports," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. "With economies improving throughout the world, U.S. pork and beef are well-positioned for strong growth. We worked through some very difficult economic circumstances in 2009, but we're now seeing those persistent marketing efforts pay big dividends as exports are adding more and more value to every animal produced."

Beef exports performed extremely well in virtually all major markets throughout 2010, with the exception being Mexico - the largest foreign destination for U.S. beef. But November signaled a positive turnaround for beef exports to Mexico, exceeding year-ago levels by 13 percent in volume (13,647 metric tons) and more than 30 percent in value ($79.6 million). For the year, exports to Mexico remain lower by 16 percent in volume (224,146 metric tons) and 12 percent in value ($735.5 million).

South Korea remains the fourth-largest market for U.S. beef, but export growth in Korea has been remarkable. With the help of a marketing campaign that was implemented just over a year ago in an effort to rebuild consumer confidence, U.S. exports to Korea have more than doubled in volume (101,252 metric tons) and grown by 152 percent in value to $468.7 million.

"Korea is going through a difficult time right now, with a severe foot-and-mouth (FMD) outbreak," Seng said. "But consumers are well-educated about the disease and know that neither imported nor domestic meat products pose any health threat to them. We've seen demand remain strong throughout the crisis."

Seng added that while USMEF and its marketing partners are conducting regularly scheduled promotions in Korea, discretion is very important during the FMD outbreak. 

"This is not a time for countries that export to Korea to cast doubt on the safety of their domestic products or to try to take undue advantage of the situation," he said. "We must maintain consumer confidence in the safety of meat or we will all suffer a setback."

Other beef market highlights for the first 11 months of 2010 include:

* Canada remains the second-largest market for U.S. beef in terms of both volume (137,196 metric tons) and value ($656.3 million). This is an increase of 3 percent and 11 percent, respectively, over 2009.

* Exports to Japan were about one-third higher than 2009 in both volume (115,178 metric tons) and value $589.8 million. Japan is the third-largest individual market in both categories.

* Led by strong growth in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, exports to the Middle East are up one-third in volume (119,698 metric tons) and more than 70 percent in value ($230.2 million).

* Exports to Russia more than doubled in volume (54,987 metric tons) and nearly quadrupled in value to a record $147.3 million. Like the Middle East, Russia has maintained its strong demand for U.S. beef variety meat but has also shown a surging appetite for muscle cuts.

* For the fifth consecutive year, Taiwan has set a value record for imports of U.S. beef. But in 2010, the new mark is particularly impressive. With one month remaining, exports to Taiwan have already reached $192.7 million. The previous record (2009) was $141.1 million. The addition of high-quality bone-in cuts, allowed for the first time since 2003 and marketed aggressively by USMEF, contributed to the strong growth in Taiwan.

* Exports to Hong Kong ($131 million), the Caribbean ($90.8 million) and Central and South America ($42.6 million) also set annual value records with a full month's results still to be reported. end_mark

Photo: Thinkstock

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