US beef exports set annual records in 2022 - USMEF

Records were achieved in South Korea, China/Hong Kong, Taiwan
calendar icon 10 February 2023
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US beef exports set annual records for both volume and value in 2022, according to year-end data released by USDA and compiled by USMEF. Pork exports finished lower year-over-year but export value was the third largest on record, trailing only the highs reached in 2020 and 2021.

Despite slowing toward the end of the year, beef exports reached 1.47 million metric tons (mt), up 2% from the previous high in 2021. Export value climbed to a record $11.68 billion, up 10% from 2021 and nearly 40% above the previous five-year average. The US exported a record share of its record-large beef production in 2022, and at higher prices. Beef exports achieved annual records in many individual markets, including South Korea, China/Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Colombia, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

In December, beef exports trended lower than a year ago at 112,707 mt, down 7%, while value fell 21% to $782.6 million. The December decline was due in part to a sharp drop in exports to China/Hong Kong, where demand had been constrained by persistent zero-COVID policies. China lifted most COVID restrictions in early December and resumed some international travel in early January. Along with the recent easing of COVID-related cold chain regulations and inspections, these changes offer a more optimistic demand outlook for 2023.

“2022 was a ground-breaking year for U.S. beef’s international presence, with global demand stronger than I’ve seen in all my years in the industry,” said USMEF president and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Late in the year, exports certainly felt the impact of persistent headwinds in our large Asian markets, including depressed trading partner currencies and COVID-related challenges in China, but the long list of countries in which records were set showcases the industry’s focus on diversifying export markets."

"While the year ahead will be challenging due to supply constraints, the exchange rate situation has improved and we still see room for growth in the foodservice sector as more regions continue their gradual rebound from COVID," Halstrom added. 

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