Beef Exports Show Strong Growth

US - August was another outstanding month for US beef exports. Beef exports set an all-time monthly value record at $514.2 million on a strong volume of 256 billion pounds. Beef exports are on pace to set new value records in 2011 and to eclipse the $5 billion mark for the first time ever.
calendar icon 17 October 2011
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Despite slipping slightly from July in terms of volume, a strong August performance pushed beef exports 26 per cent higher for the year in volume (1.8 billion pounds) and 39 per cent higher in value ($3.58 billion). August exports equated to 14 per cent of total US production, with a value of more than $214 per head of fed slaughter. (This compared to just under 12 per cent and $159.59 per head in August 2010.) For the year, beef exports equated to 14.2 per cent of production with a value of more than $200 per head.

Though down from the record pace established in July, beef exports to Canada remained very strong at 43 million pounds valued at $114.6 million. This was 44 per cent higher in volume and 55 per cent higher in value than in August 2010. For the first eight months of the year, Canada has been the leading value destination for US beef at $709.7 million (up 54 per cent from last year and already a new full-year record) and second only to Mexico in volume at 288 million pounds (up 33 per cent).

Mexico was the volume pacesetter for US beef at 374 million pounds and second in value at $646 million. These totals were up six per cent and 24 per cent, respectively, over last year’s pace. August export value of $93.4 million was easily Mexico’s highest monthly total of the year.

The Middle East continued to shine as a region of tremendous growth for US beef, with totals through August running 37 higher than last year in volume (249 million pounds) and 46 per cent higher in value ($220.7 million). Egypt was the mainstay market in the region but growth was also strong in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar – markets aggressively targeted this year by beef checkoff programmes.

Asian markets were also an excellent source of growth for US beef exports, including Japan (up 38 per cent in volume to 240 million pounds and 44 per cent in value to $583.6 million), Korea (up 49 per cent to 242 million pounds and 41 per cent to $485.6 million), Hong Kong (up 66 per cent to 74 million pounds and 98 per cent to $151.2 million) and the Philippines (up 21 per cent to 19 million pounds and 37 per cent to $25.6 million). Taiwan was the exception to this trend, dropping seven per cent in volume (49 million pounds) and six per cent in value ($123.1 million) due to regulatory changes that have created an uncertain business climate for importers.

The Central-South America region increased purchases of US beef by 50 per cent in volume (38 million pounds) and 66 percent in value ($49.8 million) over last year. Chile, Peru and Guatemala have been the primary centers of growth in the region, but exports should be further bolstered by free trade agreements with Panama and Colombia.

Statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the Beef Checkoff Programme.

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