US Beef Exports Still Going Strong

US - Despite predictions that international trade numbers will shrink in 2009 for the first time in 25 years, U.S. pork exports continued to post strong growth in the 2008 January to October period, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
calendar icon 19 December 2008
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Total pork exports through October 2008 were $3.6 billion compared to $2.1 billion in 2007, up nearly 68 percent. U.S. exports to China/Hong Kong are up 209 percent in this same time period to $618 million compared to $200 million in 2007, though they have slowed down considerably compared to the pre-Olympic flurry of purchasing activity.

Total pork exports to Russia, another big growth market earlier in the year, are up 166 percent in the period January to October 2008, totaling $435 million compared to $134 million in 2007. This growth will slow down in the remainder of the year given the Russia delistment of many U.S. pork plants. Japan remains the top market for U.S. pork, taking $1.29 billion compared to $931 million in 2007, a growth factor of 39 percent. Shipments to Mexico are up by just over 52 percent to $550 million in 2008.

Beef exports through October 2008 totaled $2.6 billion, an increase of 46 percent over $1.78 billion of 2007. Canada and Mexico account for 52 percent of exports, with Mexico at $835 million in 2008 compared to $697 million in 2007. In 2003, pre-BSE, Mexico imported $674 million.

Exports to Canada are also up, $527 million compared to $404 million in 2007. Exports for all of 2003 to Canada totaled $257 million. Exports to Korea and Japan are up by 109 and 61 percent respectively. For Japan, exports totaled $332 million for the period Jan. to Oct. 2008. Exports for all of 2003 totaled $1.34 billion. Similarly for Korea, exports totaled $244 million through October 2008 but are still down significantly from the 2003 total of $787 million. Russia has been a fast growing market for U.S. beef, which January to October imports totaling $87 million compared to $96,000 for 2007. Totals for 2008 exceed the 2003 value of $52 million.

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