First-half beef exports on $1 billion/month pace - USMEF

Japan was the leading market for US beef
calendar icon 8 August 2022
clock icon 4 minute read

US beef exports remained on a red-hot pace in June, topping $1 billion for the fifth time this year (after twice hitting $1 billion in 2021), according to data released by USDA and compiled by USMEF

June beef exports totalled 130,638 metric tons (mt), down slightly from the record volume posted in May but up 16% year-over-year and the fourth largest on record. Export value was $1.05 billion in June, also down slightly from the May record but 31% above last year. For the first half of 2022, beef exports increased 6% from a year ago to 743,904 mt, valued at $6.19 billion (up 33%).

“The first-half performance for US beef exports was nothing short of remarkable, especially considering the growing economic headwinds in many key markets and continued shipping and logistical challenges,” said USMEF president and CEO Dan Halstrom. “The rebound in the global foodservice sector has provided a tremendous lift in 2022, even though it is still far from a full recovery in many Asian and European destinations. We definitely see opportunities for further growth, though inflationary pressure and the stronger US dollar continue to raise concerns about consumer spending power.”

Japan was the leading volume market for US beef exports in June, with exports increasing 12% to 27,891 mt. Export value was up 15% to $211.7 million. First-half exports to Japan were steady with last year in volume at 155,513 mt but jumped 20% in value to $1.25 billion. This included 28,045 mt of beef variety meat – mainly tongues and skirts – which was up just 1% from a year ago but export value soared 41% to $287.4 million.

June exports to South Korea jumped 22% from a year ago to 24,820 mt, while value increased 36% to $230.1 million. First-half exports to Korea were 6% ahead of last year’s record pace in volume (150,493), while value soared 40% to $1.52 billion. To combat inflation, Korea recently opened a 100,000 mt duty-free quota for imported beef, which is available to all eligible suppliers through the end of the year. The U.S. is the largest supplier of beef to Korea and while the quota will reduce US beef’s tariff rate advantage over major competitors, it is a positive development in that it will help offset the impact of Korea’s weakened currency and bolster the relative affordability of U.S. beef.

COVID lockdowns extended into early June in some of China’s largest cities, but June beef exports to China/Hong Kong still climbed 37% from a year ago to 25,270 mt. Export value soared 50% to $240.7 million, making China/Hong Kong the largest value destination for US beef in June. First-half exports to the region were 27% ahead of last year’s record pace in volume (135,821 mt) and 44% higher in value at $1.25 billion.

Other January-June results for US beef exports include:

  • Despite a slight volume decline in June, first-half beef exports to Taiwan totaled 37,243 mt, up 27% from a year ago. Value climbed to $444.2 million – 59% ahead of last year’s record pace. The US is the dominant supplier of chilled beef to Taiwan, capturing 76% market share.
  • First-half beef exports to the ASEAN region climbed 10% to 31,581 mt, while value soared 66% to $233.5 million. Exports to the Philippines increased 26% to 10,928 mt and climbed 92% in value to $79.1 million. Exports to Indonesia, where foot-and-mouth disease has recently impacted domestic production, dipped slightly in volume (10,621 mt, down 3%) but value still increased 56% to $75.3 million. Exports to Vietnam increased in both volume (4,627 mt, up 7%) and value ($39.3 million, up 48%).
  • In the Caribbean, a rebound in tourism and strong retail demand pushed first-half beef exports to 13,993 mt, up 35% from a year ago, while value climbed 82% to $120.1 million. Export value more than doubled to the Dominican Republic ($48.3 million, up 115%) and Jamaica ($12.8 million, up 166%), while also increasing sharply to the Bahamas ($14.9 million, up 58%).
  • Hard-hit by a prolonged, COVID-related slowdown in the foodservice sector, Europe’s demand for US beef is finally rebounding. First-half exports to Europe reached 10,040 mt, up 89% from last year’s low totals, while value climbed 110% to $131.8 million. In the April-June quarter, imports under the US share of the European Union’s duty-free High Quality Beef Quota were the largest since the pre-COVID total posted in early 2020. Through July, EU imports of US beef under the quota totaled 7,540 mt, up about 35% from the same period last year.
  • Strong variety meat demand in Egypt and larger muscle cut shipments to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar pushed first-half beef exports to the Middle East 12% higher than a year ago to 36,289 mt, valued at $160.5 million (up 56%).
  • June beef export value averaged $447.45 per head of fed slaughter, up 27% from a year ago. Through June, per-head value averaged $476.98, up 33% from the first half of 2021. Exports accounted for 15.5% of total June beef production and 13.3% for muscle cuts, up significantly from 13.6% and 11.5%, respectively, in June 2021. First-half exports accounted for 15.4% of total production and 13.2% for muscle cuts, up from 14.7% and 12.5%, respectively.

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