Challenging month for US beef exports, but bright spots emerge - USMEF

Volume and value to South Korea dropped 36% and 52% respectively
calendar icon 24 March 2023
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January beef exports were down substantially in most Asian destinations compared to the large year-ago totals, according to a recent press release from the US Meat Export Federation. The decline was especially sharp in South Korea, where volume dipped 36% to 18,896 mt and value fell 52% to $151.5 million. Korea is coming off a record year in which exports set an all-time record value for any single destination, reaching $2.7 billion.

The decline was less pronounced in Japan, where January exports were down 2% to 22,456 mt, with value falling 20% to $144.9 million.

Exports to China/Hong Kong, which also reached new heights in 2022, fell 24% from a year ago to 14,980 mt, valued at $125.3 million. China lifted COVID-related restrictions on residents and travelers late last year and eliminated testing and disinfection of imported cold chain products in January. But these changes came amid a significant wave in COVID cases, which likely delayed any boost in consumer demand.

Beef exports to Mexico showed positive momentum in January, climbing 20% from a year ago to 17,479 mt, valued at $94.7 million – up 19% and the highest in more than a year. US beef could soon face heightened competition in Mexico, as earlier this week Mexican officials finalised import requirements for some imports from Brazil. This will be the first time the country has opened to Brazilian beef.

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