Current Progressive Cattle digital edition

Strong momentum continues for U.S. beef exports

U.S. Meat Export Federation Published on 19 October 2010

meat_regularAugust was a solid month for U.S. beef exports, easily outpacing the results of August 2009 and increasing its gains over the cumulative totals from the first eight months of 2009.

Beef exports for the month increased 24 percent in volume and 43 percent in value compared to August 2009, totaling 92,579 metric tons valued at $373.7 million. The cumulative January to August totals were up 16 percent in volume (680,609 metric tons) and 27 percent in value ($2.57 billion). This value total is 9 percent higher than the corresponding pre-BSE value total from January-August 2003. Korea remains the largest growth market, with exports of 73,625 metric tons valued at $345 million (an increase of 131 percent and 175 percent, respectively).

On a per-head basis, beef exports equated to $159.60 per steer and heifer slaughtered in August -- up from about $120.00 in August 2009. Export value for January-August equated to $144.32 per head compared to $115.25 a year ago. Exports made up 11.4 percent of production, up from 9.7 percent last year.

All major beef export markets showed strong growth through the first eight months of the year except for Vietnam (which is down slightly in volume but still up 12 percent in value) and Mexico, which is down 21 percent in volume and 18 percent in value. August results for Mexico were somewhat encouraging, however, as volume (20,959 metric tons) was down slightly from last year but value (just over $70 million) was 6 percent higher.

“Mexico has remained a challenging market for beef, due to the sluggish economy and a peso that has been slow to strengthen,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “But recent results there have been more promising, so we’re hopeful that our No. 1 market is getting back on track and that Mexico is beginning to share in the strong momentum U.S. beef is gaining worldwide.”

Canada remains the second-largest market for U.S. beef. Export volume (98,022 metric tons) to Canada is relatively flat this year, but value is up 8 percent to $461.1 million. August was a strong month for Canada, with exports rising nearly 10 percent in volume and 25 percent in value over August 2009.

Japan is closing the gap on Canada as beef exports reached 78,879 metric tons valued at $404.3 million. Export growth to Japan has been strong and steady throughout the year, holding at 26 percent for both volume and value. August growth was slightly better, however, exceeding 30 percent over August 2009.

In addition to the strong growth in Korea, other beef export highlights for January- August include:

- Exports to Egypt increased 29 percent in volume (69,811 metric tons) and 65 percent in value ($97.1 million). Strong growth in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia helped push exports to the Middle East region to 82,850 metric tons valued at $150.7 million – increases of 31 percent and 59 percent, respectively. Muscle cut exports to the region were record- large in August, totaling 4,782 metric tons with a value of $15.9 million.

- Despite relatively slow growth in Vietnam, exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region increased by 20 percent in volume (47,623 metric tons) and 26 percent in value ($153.8 million), led by exceptional results in the Philippines and Indonesia.

- Taiwan, which has set new value records for purchases of U.S. beef in each of the past four years, appears well on its way to another record in 2010. Exports to Taiwan have increased 42 percent in volume (24,409 metric tons) and 54 percent in value ($131.1 million), rapidly approaching last year’s calendar year-ending total of $141.1 million.

- Exports to Russia have already set a new record for value at $104.5 million, surpassing the previous high of $95.3 million set in 2008. Compared to last year, exports to Russia are up 139 percent in volume (37,101 metric tons) and 476 percent in value.

- Despite a slowdown in August, cumulative exports to Hong Kong were still up 50 percent in volume (20,407 metric tons) and 68 percent in value ($76.3 million). end_mark