US - March 2016 exports of US beef increased year-over-year in volume, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Programme.
Beef exports totalled 194.3 million pounds in March, up 3 per cent from a year ago and pushing first-quarter volume to more than 562 million pounds – up 2 per cent from the first quarter of 2015.
While March export value was $483.3 million - down 8 per cent from a year ago - it was the highest since December. For the first quarter, export value was $1.36 billion – down 13 per cent year-on-year.
“Exports showed an encouraging level of improvement in March, especially to our key Asian markets,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng.
“Beef exports continued to perform well in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. So while US exports continue to recover from a down year in 2015, volumes are on track for improvement in most markets this year.”
Beef variety meat demand bolsters exports to Asia, Middle East
While lower beef prices pushed export values below year-ago levels in most destinations, Korea and Taiwan stood out as top performers.
For the first quarter, exports to Korea increased 25 per cent in volume from a year ago, at 76.4 million pounds, and were steady in value at $205 million. Exports to Taiwan increased 20 per cent to 16.8 million pounds, while value climbed 3 per cent to $66.4 million.
These markets continue to show strong demand for high-quality chilled US beef cuts in both the retail and food service sectors.
Beef variety meat exports to Korea have also performed exceptionally well in 2016, with first-quarter exports jumping more than 133 per cent in volume, to 8.8 million pounds, and increasing 84 per cent in value to $17.6 million.
First-quarter beef export volume to Japan improved 9 per cent from a year ago to 116.5 million pounds, while value fell 7 per cent to $300.4 million.
Led by strong demand for US beef tongues, beef variety meat exports to Japan were very strong in the first quarter, increasing 21 per cent in volume from a year ago, at 21.8 million, and 22 per cent in value to $70.4 million.
Beef exports to the Middle East increased 13 per cent in the first quarter to 60.9 million pounds, though value fell 11 per cent to $60.3 million.
Variety meat exports to Egypt increased 47 per cent year-over-year in March, pushing the first-quarter volume total up 14 per cent to 54.1 million pounds. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the leading market in the region for beef muscle cuts, with first-quarter exports increasing 8 per cent year-over-year to about 3.3 million pounds. Export value to the UAE fell 2 per cent to $17.3 million.
Weakness of the Mexican peso and Canadian dollar continues to be a significant obstacle for U.S. beef. First-quarter exports to Canada declined 9 per cent in volume from a year ago, to 57.9 million pounds, and 21 per cent in value to $160.7 million.
First-quarter exports to Mexico were down 14 per cent in volume to 107.8 million pounds and down 23 per cent in value, to $219.4 million, respectively, though beef muscle-cut exports to Mexico rebounded to some degree in March at 20.1 million pounds – the highest volume since December.
First-quarter beef exports equated to 12.5 per cent of total US beef production and 9 per cent for muscle cuts only – both down slightly from a year ago. Export value averaged $243.21 per head of fed slaughter in the first quarter, down 16 per cent from last year’s pace.
TheCattleSite News Desk