Beef Exports Achieved 2010 High In November

US - November exports of US pork and beef reached their highest monthly volumes in more than two years, according to results compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
calendar icon 17 January 2011
clock icon 6 minute read

Pork exports totalled 177,203 metric tons valued at $443.4 million – increases of five per cent in volume and 15 per cent in value over November 2009. For the period January to November, exports were up two per cent in volume (1.73 million metric tons) and 10 per cent in value ($4.34 billion). The cumulative value total is just four per cent below the all-time record pace set in the first 11 months of 2008. For the year, exports accounted for 23.6 per cent of production with a per-head value equivalent of $43.61 ($44.80 in November alone). For the same period in 2009, exports equated to 22.5 per cent of production with a per-head value of $38.42. In the record export year of 2008, the per-head value was $42.30.

Beef export value in November was $389.5 million, an increase of nearly 50 per cent over November 2009. By volume (101,323 metric tons), beef exports exceeded the year-ago level by 32 per cent. For the first 11 months of 2010, exports were 18 per cent above 2009 in terms of volume (964,369 metric tons) and 30 per cent higher by value ($3.67 billion). The value total is about one per cent ahead of the 2003 pace when beef exports went on to set a single-year record of $3.86 billion. Exports accounted for 11.6 per cent of production with a per-head value equivalent of $150.36 ($178. 20 in November) – up dramatically from the 2009 totals of 9.8 per cent and $117.80.

"November was clearly one of the best months on record for US meat exports," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. "With economies improving throughout the world, US pork and beef are well-positioned for strong growth. We worked through some very difficult economic circumstances in 2009 but we're now seeing those persistent marketing efforts pay big dividends as exports are adding more and more value to every animal produced."

Mexico, Canada, ASEAN post big gains for pork, while Japan still shines in terms of value

January-November exports to Japan, the leading value destination for US pork, broke the $1.5 billion mark for the third consecutive year, exceeding the previous year's pace by six per cent. In terms of volume (397,528 metric tons), exports to Japan are up two per cent. Mexico is the leading volume destination at 491,314 metric tons – up nine per cent and just short of the single-year record. Export value to Mexico has already set a new record of $890.6 million.

Pork exports to Canada for the year are up seven per cent in volume (164,767 metric tons) and 18 per cent in value ($562.6 million). Despite a down year for Viet Nam, exports to the ASEAN region – led by strong results in the Philippines and Singapore – are up 19 per cent in volume (62,006 metric tons) and 32 per cent in value ($125.1 million).

Other market highlights include:

  • For the China/Hong Kong region, January-November exports were 11 per cent higher in volume (254,554 metric tons) and seven per cent higher in value ($405.8 million). Exports to China were up significantly over 2009 but US pork was absent for much of that year due to A-H1N1 influenza restrictions. Exports to Hong Kong were lower, offsetting some of the gains in China.

  • Exports to Russia were down for the year but US pork got off to a slow start in 2010 due to very limited market access. November export volume (11,214 metric tons) was still lower than in 2009 but value ($31.76 million) was actually higher. With nearly 59,000 metric tons of muscle cut exports, the US has filled its 2010 quota (57,500 metric tons).

  • Exports to Australia set a new single-year record in both volume (48,673 metric tons, up eight per cent) and value $136.9 million (up 27 per cent).

  • Latin American markets continue to perform very well, with exports to Central and South America up 32 per cent in volume (54,123 metric tons) and 41 per cent in value ($128.5 million). Free trade agreements have helped boost exports to the leading markets of Honduras and Guatemala and strong growth to Colombia could also be accelerated through approval of a pending FTA. Exports to the Caribbean were up seven per cent in volume (39,780 metric tons) and 20 per cent in value ($85.2 million).

Beef exports surging across the globe

Beef exports performed extremely well in virtually all major markets throughout 2010, with the exception being Mexico – the largest foreign destination for US beef. But November signalled a positive turnaround for beef exports to Mexico, exceeding year-ago levels by 13 per cent in volume (13,647 metric tons) and more than 30 per cent in value ($79.6 million). For the year, exports to Mexico remain lower by 16 per cent in volume (224,146 metric tons) and 12 per cent in value ($735.5 million).

South Korea remains the fourth-largest market for US beef but export growth in Korea has been remarkable. With the help of a marketing campaign that was implemented just over a year ago in an effort to rebuild consumer confidence, US exports to Korea have more than doubled in volume (101,252 metric tons) and grown by 152 per cent in value to $468.7 million.

"Korea is going through a difficult time right now, with a severe foot-and-mouth (FMD) outbreak," Mr Seng said. "But consumers are well-educated about the disease and know that neither imported nor domestic meat products pose any health threat to them. We've seen demand remain strong throughout the crisis."

He added that while USMEF and its marketing partners are conducting regularly scheduled promotions in Korea, discretion is very important during the FMD outbreak.

"This is not a time for countries that export to Korea to cast doubt on the safety of their domestic products or to try to take undue advantage of the situation," he said. "We must maintain consumer confidence in the safety of meat or we will all suffer a set-back."

Other beef market highlights for the first 11 months of 2010 include:

  • Canada remains the second-largest market for US beef in terms of both volume (137,196 metric tons) and value ($656.3 million). This is an increase of three per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, over 2009.

  • Exports to Japan were about one-third higher than 2009 in both volume (115,178 metric tons) and value $589.8 million. Japan is the third-largest individual market in both categories.

  • Led by strong growth in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, exports to the Middle East are up one-third in volume (119,698 metric tons) and more than 70 per cent in value ($230.2 million).

  • Exports to Russia more than doubled in volume (54,987 metric tons) and nearly quadrupled in value to a record $147.3 million. Like the Middle East, Russia has maintained its strong demand for US beef variety meat but has also shown a surging appetite for muscle cuts.

  • For the fifth consecutive year, Taiwan has set a value record for imports of US beef. But in 2010, the new mark is particularly impressive. With one month remaining, exports to Taiwan have already reached $192.7 million. The previous record (2009) was $141.1 million. The addition of high-quality bone-in cuts, allowed for the first time since 2003 and marketed aggressively by USMEF, contributed to the strong growth in Taiwan.

  • Exports to Hong Kong ($131 million), the Caribbean ($90.8 million) and Central and South America ($42.6 million) also set annual value records with a full month's results still to be reported.

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