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Tremendous First Half for US Beef Exports

07 August 2018

US - Strong June results capped a huge first half of 2018 for US beef exports, according to data released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

Beef muscle cut exports set a new volume record in June of 90,745 metric tons (mt), up 15 per cent from a year ago. When adding variety meat, total beef export volume was 115,718 mt, up 6 per cent, valued at $718.4 million – up 19 per cent year-over-year and only slightly below the record total ($722.1 million) reached in May.

First-half exports set a record pace in both volume and value as international customers bought a larger share of US beef production at higher prices, indicating strong demand. Export volume was up 9 per cent from a year ago to 662,875 mt while export value was just over $4 billion, up 21 per cent. In previous years, export value never topped the $4 billion mark before August.

"It’s remarkable to think that as recently as 2010, beef exports for the entire year totaled $4 billion, and now that milestone has been reached in just six months," noted Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. "This should be a source of great pride for the beef industry, which has remained committed to expanding exports even when facing numerous obstacles. And with global demand hitting on all cylinders, there is plenty of room for further growth."

June exports accounted for 13.4 per cent of total beef production, up from 12.8 per cent a year ago. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.3 per cent, up from just under 10 per cent last year.

First-half exports accounted for 13.5 per cent of total beef production and 11 per cent for muscle cuts – up from 12.8 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, last year. Beef export value averaged $313.56 per head of fed slaughter in June, up 19 per cent from a year ago. The first-half average was $316.94 per head, up 18 per cent.

Asian markets lead the way, but US beef accelerating in nearly every region

Beef exports to leading market Japan continued to climb in June, totaling 31,147 mt (up 13 per cent from a year ago) valued at $193.1 million (up 11 per cent). First-half exports to Japan were up 6 per cent from a year ago in volume at 159,354 mt while value increased 12 per cent to $1.02 billion. This included a 4 per cent increase in chilled beef to 73,968 mt, valued at $590.1 million (up 15 per cent).

June exports to South Korea were up 46 per cent from a year ago in volume (21,408 mt) and set another new value record at $154.8 million (up 68 per cent). First-half exports to Korea climbed 36 per cent to 113,283 mt, valued at $802.1 million – up 52 per cent from last year’s record pace. Chilled beef exports to Korea totaled 25,400 mt (up 35 per cent) valued at $244.8 million (up 47 per cent).

For January through June, other highlights for US beef exports include:

  • Despite trending lower in June, first-half exports to Mexico were up 2 per cent from a year ago in volume (117,524 mt) and up 10 per cent in value ($506.7 million). Mexico is the leading destination for US beef variety meat exports, which increased 8 per cent from a year ago in value ($114.8 million) despite a 6 per cent decline in volume (50,209 mt).

  • Exports to China/Hong Kong increased 15 per cent in volume (65,345 mt) and 43 per cent in value ($510.8 million. First-half exports to China, which reopened to US beef in June of last year, were 3,655 mt valued at $33 million. Although China’s duty rate increase on US beef (from 12 per cent to 37 per cent) didn’t take effect until 6 July, June exports slowed in part because of rising uncertainty as China’s proposed retaliatory tariff list that included US beef was published in April.

  • Beef exports to Taiwan continue to soar, as first-half volume increased 32 per cent from a year ago 26,865 mt) and value was up 39 per cent $249.7 million). Chilled exports to Taiwan were up 34 per cent in volume (10,974 mt) and 46 per cent in value ($136.2 million), as the United States captured 74 per cent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market – the highest market share of any Asian destination.

  • Strong growth in Colombia helped push first-half exports to South America higher than a year ago – up 2 per cent in volume (14,030 mt) and climbing 20 per cent in value ($63.9 million). Export value to Chile and Peru also increased, despite volumes dipping below last year. Although still a small market, exports to Ecuador (600 mt) were the largest since 2013.

  • Beef exports to the ASEAN region slowed in June but still posted year-over-year gains in the first half – up 6 per cent in volume (21,802 mt) and 24 per cent in value ($122.8 million). This region – especially Indonesia and the Philippines – is an important destination for beef variety meat exports, which climbed 27 per cent in value ($13.1 million) despite a slight decline in volume (6,212 mt).

  • Fueled by sharply higher exports to Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama, first-half volume to Central America increased 27 per cent from a year ago to 6,942 mt, valued at $38.8 million (up 26 per cent).

TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock


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