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US Beef Continues to Trend Higher

07 November 2017

US - September beef exports edged higher in volume and jumped substantially in value, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

Although lower than the previous month, September beef export volume improved 2 per cent from a year ago to 103,552 mt. Export value topped $600 million for the fourth consecutive month at $616.9 million, up 16 per cent from a year ago. January-September volume was 926,985 mt, up 9 per cent from the first three quarters of 2016, while export value was $5.27 billion – up 16 per cent year-over-year and 2 per cent above of the record pace established in 2014.

Beef exports accounted for 12.5 per cent of total production in September, down one percentage point from a year ago, but the percentage of muscle cuts exported increased from 10.2 per cent last year to 10.4 per cent. For January through September, beef exports accounted 12.8 per cent of total production (down from 13.2 per cent) and 10.1 per cent for muscle cuts (steady with last year).

September beef export value averaged $289.14 per head of fed slaughter, up 13 per cent from a year ago. January-September export value averaged $277.31 per head, up 10 per cent.

Beef exports higher to most regions, but hurricanes impact Caribbean demand

Strong momentum for US beef continued in most Asian and Western Hemisphere markets in September, though exports faced some new headwinds. Exports to leading market Japan held up well in September despite Japan’s recent duty rate increase (from 38.5 per cent to 50 per cent) on imports of frozen US beef. September exports of frozen beef to Japan were up 44 per cent from a year ago to 10,512 mt, while chilled exports increased 38 per cent to 12,663 mt.

For January through September, exports to Japan increased 22 per cent in volume (236,536 mt) and 30 per cent in value ($1.45 billion). This included a 42 per cent increase in chilled beef exports (113,347 mt) valued at $833 million (up 45 per cent). Frozen beef was up 15.5 per cent to 85,432 mt valued at $334 million (up 23 per cent).

"USMEF is pleased to see solid demand continuing for US beef in Japan, and this is a testament to the strong, well-established relationships with our loyal customers and the success of US beef promotional campaigns in Japan," said USMEF CEO Philip Seng.

"But the 11.5 per cent duty rate increase needs to be closely monitored to ascertain where market dislocation will occur. We are watching this situation carefully and remain very concerned about the widening gap in duty rates between US beef and Australian beef."

Through the first three quarters of 2017, market-specific highlights for US beef include:

  • Fueled by rapidly growing demand in South Korea’s retail sector, export volume to Korea increased 7 per cent from a year ago to 131,774 mt. Export value ($856.9 million, up 20 per cent) is on pace to easily break last year’s record of $1.06 billion. These totals include an 85 per cent increase in chilled beef exports (31,648 mt), valued at $283 million (up 92 per cent), as US beef continues to gain market share in Korea.

  • Taiwan is also an outstanding destination for chilled US beef, with the US holding more than 70 per cent of the chilled beef market. Through September, chilled exports to Taiwan were up 19 per cent in volume (13,615 mt) and 24 per cent in value ($162 million). Total exports to Taiwan increased 9 per cent in volume (32,894 mt) and 21 per cent in value ($297.5 million).

  • Within North America, September beef exports slowed slightly from a year ago in volume to both Mexico and Canada, but increased in value. Through September, exports to Mexico remained slightly ahead of last year’s pace in volume (175,585 mt, up 1 per cent) and slightly lower in value ($726.9 million, down 1 per cent). Exports to Canada were up 3 per cent in volume (86,697 mt) and 6 per cent in value ($603.8 million).

  • Strong growth in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam pushed beef exports to the ASEAN region 68 per cent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (29,974 mt) and 53 per cent higher in value ($149.1 million). The region is especially strong for beef variety meat, with exports through September more than doubling from a year ago in both volume (8,535 mt, up 125 per cent) and value ($15.6 million, up 135 per cent).

  • With hurricanes inflicting severe damage on several Caribbean islands, September beef exports to the region slipped dramatically from a year ago in both volume (1,653 mt, down 22 per cent) and value ($9.9 million, down 48 per cent). Through September, exports to the Caribbean were still up 4 per cent from a year ago in volume (17,759 mt), but value fell 6 per cent to $118.2 million.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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