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July US Beef Exports Strong

09 September 2019

US - Beef exports in July were relatively steady with last year’s strong results, according to data released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

Beef exports increased 1 percent year-over-year in July to 117,842 mt. Export value ($720.4 million) was down slightly from a year ago but still the seventh-highest monthly total on record.

January-July beef exports were down 2 percent from a year ago in volume (766,607 mt) while export value ($4.75 billion) was slightly below last year’s record pace.

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $308.47 in July, down 7 percent from a year ago, while January-July export value averaged $311.51 per head, down 2 percent.

July exports accounted for 14.4 percent of total US beef production and 11.8 percent for muscle cuts only, down from 15.1 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively, last year.

For the first seven months of the year, exports accounted for 14.1 percent of total beef production and 11.6 percent for muscle cuts — each down one-half percentage point from a year ago.

Another record month for US beef in Korea

South Korea continues to be the growth pacesetter for US beef exports, as July volume reached 25,104 mt (up 6 percent from a year ago). This included 24,192 mt of beef muscle cuts, also up 6 percent and setting a new monthly volume record.

Export value was $181.3 million, up 7 percent from a year ago and breaking the record set the previous month.

For January through July, beef exports to Korea climbed 11 percent in volume (151,983 mt) while export value ($1.1 billion) exceeded last year’s record pace by 14 percent.

"The Korean market is a remarkable success story and a blueprint for what US beef can achieve when consumers are not shouldering such a heavy tariff burden," USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said.

"With the duty rate now less than half of its pre-FTA level, US beef is enjoyed by more Korean consumers than ever, and in a wider variety of venues. This will also happen in Japan when duty rates come down, but on an even larger scale."

Though Korea is gaining, Japan remains the largest volume and value destination for US beef. July exports slipped 2 percent from a year ago to 31,213 mt, with value down 4 percent to $188.4 million.

Through the first seven months of the year, exports to Japan were 1 percent below last years’ pace in both volume (189,052 mt) and value ($1.2 billion).

Strong variety meat exports (especially tongues and skirts) have helped offset a slowdown in US chilled beef exports to Japan.

Through July, variety meat volume was up 30 percent from a year ago to 38,249 mt, valued at $228.8 million (up 21 percent).

Although US beef pays higher tariffs than competitors for variety meat, the rate for US tongues and skirts is 12.8 percent compared to a 38.5 percent tariff on US muscle cuts. Competitors pay 5.7 percent and 26.6 percent, respectively.

Other January-July highlights for US beef include:

  • Mexico is the third-largest market for US beef exports and the largest destination for US beef variety meat. Though export volume was modestly lower through July (135,337 mt, down 2 percent), value increased 6 percent to $635 million. This included 52,389 mt of beef variety meat, down 8 percent from a year ago. But US variety meat items are commanding better prices, as export value increased 6 percent to $138.2 million. Tripe export value, for example, increased 25 percent to $57.3 million despite a 3 percent decline in volume (21,696 mt).

  • Exports to Taiwan were 13 percent percent above last year’s record pace in volume (36,601 mt) and 9 percent higher in value ($324.6 million). The United States dominates Taiwan’s chilled beef imports with 72 percent market share.

  • Indonesia is 2019’s leading destination for US beef in the ASEAN region, with exports climbing 55 percent to 12,071 mt and value up 23 percent to $43.9 million. With solid growth in the Philippines and steady volumes to Vietnam, exports to the region increased 24 percent to 31,725 mt, valued at $154.8 million (up 9 percent).

  • Exports to the Dominican Republic are on a record pace, increasing 49 percent from a year ago to 5,305 mt, while value was up 37 percent to $42.7 million.

  • Despite a 37 percent tariff (which increased to 47 percent on 1 September), July beef exports to China were the largest (903 mt) since the market reopened in 2017. Through July, exports were up 15 percent from a year ago in volume (4,749 mt) and 4 percent in value ($37.8 million), though the US still accounts for less than 1 percent of China’s booming beef imports.

TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock


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