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Strong Momentum Continues for US Beef Exports

10 July 2017

US - US pork and beef exports posted a strong May performance, increasing significantly from the previous month and from year-ago levels, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

May beef exports totaled 105,321 mt, up 6 per cent from a year ago, valued at $582.6 million, up 9 per cent. For January through May, beef exports were up 12 per cent in volume (497,322 mt) and 16 per cent in value ($2.75 billion) compared to the same period last year.

Exports accounted for 13 per cent of total US beef production in May and 10 per cent for muscle cuts only – each down one percentage point from a year ago. Through May, these ratios were steady with last year’s pace – 12.8 per cent for total production and 10 percent for muscle cuts. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $265.55 in May, matching the average from a year ago.

Through May, per-head export value averaged $270.27, up 8 per cent. Beef export prices are also increasing, especially in key Asian markets, with double-digit increases in Japan and Korea in May illustrating the strong demand for US beef.

May was a particularly strong month for variety meat exports, with pork variety meat volume climbing 16 per cent to 47,766 mt (a record high for May), and value up 33 per cent to $102.7 million. Beef variety meat exports reached 2017 highs in both volume (30,173 mt, up 12 per cent) and value ($77.7 million, up 10 per cent).

"2017 is shaping up as a very solid year for US pork and beef exports, but we remain in an extremely competitive situation in each of our key markets," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

"That’s why it is so important to capitalize on every opportunity to increase carcass value, and this is where variety meat plays an important role. USMEF has been working with our industry partners to expand the range of variety meat product offerings and diversify their destinations, and those efforts are paying important dividends for producers," Mr Seng said.

Japan, Korea and Taiwan shine for US beef while rebound in Hong Kong continues

Beef exports to leading market Japan maintained their strong momentum in May, with volume up 9 per cent to 25,340 mt and value up 24 per cent to $160.8 million. Through May, exports to Japan exceeded last year’s pace by 28 per cent in volume (123,291 mt) and 32 per cent in value ($731.4 million). This included a 45 per cent increase in chilled beef exports to 58,000 mt, valued at $414 million (up 42 per cent). US beef now accounts for 51 per cent of Japan’s chilled beef imports, surpassing Australia, and climbing from 40 per cent last year.

May beef exports to South Korea fell below last year’s large volume (14,268 mt, down 8 per cent) but still increased 2 per cent in value to $89.2 million. Chilled exports were the largest of the year at 3,700 mt, up 89 per cent. For January through May, exports to Korea were up 12 per cent in volume (68,656 mt) and 21 per cent in value ($435.3 million). This included an 85 per cent increase in chilled exports (to 15,700 mt) with value up 88 per cent to $138.5 million. The US is now Korea’s largest supplier of chilled beef, with market share climbing from 36.5 per cent last year to 52 per cent in 2017, surpassing Australia.

Beef exports to Taiwan posted a solid May performance with volume up 24 per cent to 3,426 mt and value up 20 per cent to $28.6 million. Through May, exports to Taiwan totaled 16,925 mt (up 24 per cent) valued at $147.1 million (up 27 per cent). This included chilled exports of 6,650 mt (up 16 per cent) valued at $76 million (up 19 per cent). The US is the largest supplier of beef to Taiwan and holds 70 per cent of the chilled beef market.

After a slow start to the year, exports to Hong Kong continued to gain momentum in May with exports increasing 29 per cent in volume (10,290 mt) and 36 per cent in value ($66.4 million). Through May, exports to Hong Kong totaled 47,683 mt (up 7 per cent) valued at $300.3 million (up 14 per cent).

Beef exports within North America declined in May, with volumes below year-ago levels for both Mexico (20,797 mt, down 7 per cent) and Canada (8,700 mt, down 21 per cent). Through May, exports to Mexico were still up 4 per cent year-over-year in volume (95,379 mt) but fell 5 per cent in value ($379.1 million). January-May exports to Canada remained ahead of last year’s pace in both volume (47,405 mt, up 3 per cent) and value ($319.7 million, up 6 per cent).

TheCattleSite News Desk

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