Beef Exports Post Solid Results For May

US - US beef exports in May exceeded year-ago levels by a considerable margin and kept year-to-date results on a very strong pace, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation, a contractor of the Beef Checkoff Programme.
calendar icon 14 July 2011
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May beef exports were 21 per cent higher in volume (241.9 million pounds) and 30 per cent higher in value ($453.9 million) than a year ago. It was the second-strongest month of 2011, in terms of both volume and value, trailing only the all-time record results posted in March.

Year-to-date through May, beef exports reached about 1.12 billion pounds valued at $2.09 billion – surpassing last year’s pace by 28 per cent in volume and 44 per cent in value. Exports equated to 14.8 per cent of total US production with a value of $205.07 per head of fed slaughter. This compares to 12.6 per cent and $160.30 per head in May 2010.

After several consecutive months of remarkable results, beef exports to South Korea experienced an expected correction in May. Export volume in May (23 million pounds) was about even with last year, while export value ($46.6 million) fell about eight per cent. For the year, however, beef exports to Korea have still more than doubled the 2010 pace in terms of both volume (168 million pounds) and value ($330.6 million).

In terms of 2011 beef export value, Japan ($327.5 million) pulled nearly even with Korea for the No. 3 position behind Mexico and Canada. Export value to Japan is running 69 per cent ahead of last year’s pace, while export volume (131.6 million pounds) is 63 per cent higher. US beef exports to Canada posted their best month of the year by far in May, with a total of about 37.3 million pounds valued at more than $95 million. For the year, exports to Canada are up 16 per cent in volume (152.6 million pounds) and 39 per cent in value ($367.3 million).

Other market highlights for US beef include:

Mexico remains the leading destination for US beef in terms of both volume (228.9 million pounds) and value ($392.1 million) – increases of eight per cent and 26 per cent, respectively, over 2010.

Fueled by strong growth in Egypt, exports to the Middle East region have increased 44 per cent in volume (142.7 million pounds) and 60 per cent in value ($125.8 million).

Despite still being limited to boneless muscle cuts only, exports to Hong Kong have more than doubled last year’s pace in terms of both volume (50.9 million pounds) and value ($100.6 million).

Strong growth in Peru, Guatemala and Chile pushed exports to the Central/South America region 50 percent higher in volume to nearly 23 million pounds and 80 percent higher in value to $29.4 million.

In Taiwan, where a dispute over ractopamine residues has impeded growth of US beef exports, May volume (29.5 million pounds) was down five per cent compared to last year, while export value was up slightly to $73.3 million.

“We continue to overcome market access challenges in many key markets and achieve strong growth in US beef exports,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng.

“But whether it’s the 20-month age limit in Japan, product restrictions in Hong Kong and Mexico, the impasse over residues in Taiwan or the total lack of access to China – we simply have to stop leaving money on the table. Our export success, in spite of those barriers, tells me that the partnerships we are fortifying and the image campaigns we are conducting are working, yet I know these totals could be soaring even higher with better market access.”

As for the slower results in Korea, Mr Seng was not alarmed.

“USMEF is still quite bullish on Korea as demand for US beef is very strong,” he said. “We were exporting beef to Korea at such a strong pace that it was not really sustainable, so we anticipated a correction based on importer inventories. However, we are working closely with importers, retailers and foodservice outlets to ensure a strong performance in the second half of the year.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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