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August Beef Exports Soar to New Heights

10 October 2018

US - US beef exports set new records in August with export value topping $750 million for the first time, according to data released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

August beef exports totaled 119,850 metric tons (mt), up 7 per cent from a year ago, valued at $751.7 million – up 11 per cent year-over-year and easily exceeding the previous record of $722.1 million reached in May 2018. For January through August, beef exports totaled 899,300 mt, up 9 per cent from a year ago, while value climbed 18 per cent to $5.51 billion.

For the third consecutive month, beef muscle cut exports set a new volume record in August at 95,181 mt (up 9 per cent from a year ago), valued at $679.6 million (up 13 per cent). Through August, muscle cut exports were 14 per cent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (692,234 mt) and 21 per cent higher in value ($4.93 billion).

August exports accounted for 13.2 per cent of total beef production, up from 12.5 per cent a year ago. For beef muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.2 per cent, up from 10.4 per cent last year. For January through August, exports accounted for 13.5 per cent of total beef production and 11.1 per cent for muscle cuts – up from 12.8 per cent and 10.1 per cent, respectively, last year. Beef export value averaged $320.92 per head of fed slaughter in August, up 11 per cent from a year ago. The January-August average was $318.66 per head, up 16 per cent.

"US beef exports continue to achieve tremendous growth, not only in our mainstay Asian markets but in the Western Hemisphere as well," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "USMEF is excited about the recent market access developments achieved by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and USDA, with favorable terms being preserved in Mexico, Canada and South Korea and trade talks getting underway with Japan. A trade agreement with Japan would bring opportunities for even greater expansion as US beef becomes more affordable for Japanese consumers and is back on a level playing field with Australian beef."

US beef currently faces retaliatory duties in two markets: China and Canada. China’s duty rate increased from 12 to 37 per cent in July, with the higher rate applying to all eligible products. Canada’s 10 per cent duty, which also took effect in July, applies to cooked/prepared beef products. All other US beef still enters Canada duty-free.

Beef exports to Korea already near last year’s value record

August beef exports to South Korea were up 42 per cent from a year ago in volume (24,482 mt) and set another new value record at $176.4 million (up 60 per cent). This pushed January-August exports to 161,379 mt, up 39 per cent from a year ago, while export value reached $1.15 billion – up 54 per cent and just short of the 2017 full-year record of $1.22 billion. These results included a 30 per cent increase in chilled beef exports to 35,683 mt, valued at $343.7 million (up 41 per cent). Through August, US beef accounted for 58 per cent of Korea’s chilled imports. Under the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) that took effect in 2012, Korea’s duty rate on imports of US beef has declined from 40 to 21.3 per cent and will be eliminated by 2026. These terms are preserved in the revised KORUS agreement signed 24 September.

Beef exports to leading market Japan climbed 8 per cent from a year ago in August to 33,548 mt, including a post-BSE record for muscle cuts (28,863 mt). August export value was $209.3 million, up 5 per cent from a year ago and the highest since 1996. For January through August, exports to Japan were up 7 per cent from a year ago in volume at 224,785 mt, while value increased 11 per cent to $1.42 billion. This included a slight increase in chilled beef to 100,952 mt, valued at $807.2 million (up 9 per cent). US beef accounted for nearly 50 per cent of Japan’s chilled imports through August.

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

  • Exports to Mexico were up 1 per cent from a year ago in volume (158,496 mt) and were 8 per cent higher in value ($693.9 million). Mexico is the leading destination for US beef variety meat exports, which have trended lower in recent months to fall 8 per cent below last year’s pace at 64,642 mt. Variety meat value to Mexico remained steady with last year at $148.7 million.

  • While beef shipments to China/Hong Kong slowed in the summer months, January-August exports remained 6 per cent higher than a year ago in volume (79,584 mt) and 30 per cent higher in value ($638.8 million). Exports to China, which reopened to US beef in June of last year, were 4,580 mt valued at $39.8 million.

  • Beef exports to Taiwan soared 36 per cent above last year’s pace in volume (38,923 mt) and 40 per cent higher in value ($359.9 million). Chilled exports to Taiwan were up 32 per cent in volume (15,676 mt) and 41 per cent in value ($197.1 million), as the United States captured 74 per cent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market – the highest share of any Asian destination.

  • Strong growth in the Philippines pushed beef exports to the ASEAN region 11 per cent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (29,261 mt) and 23 per cent higher in value ($160.7 million).

  • Led by sharply higher exports to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and El Salvador, export volume to Central America increased 26 per cent from a year ago to 9,519 mt, while value climbed 22 per cent to $51.6 million.

TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock


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