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October Another Stellar Month for US Beef Exports

08 December 2017

US - Beef exports are poised to break $7 billion this year for only the second time, according to October export results released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

Beef exports reached 111,287 mt in October, up 5 per cent from a year ago, valued at $662 million, up 18 per cent. These were the second-largest monthly totals of 2017, trailing only August. For January through October, exports totaled 1.038 million mt, up 9 per cent year-over-year, valued at $5.93 billion – up 16 per cent from a year ago and slightly ahead of the record value pace established in 2014.

Beef exports accounted for 13 per cent of total production in October, the highest since July but down from 13.9 per cent last year. The percentage of muscle cuts exported was steady with last year at 10.7 per cent. For January through October, beef exports accounted for 12.8 per cent of total production (down from 13.3 per cent last year) and 10.2 per cent for muscle cuts (steady with last year).

October beef export value averaged $301.88 per head of fed slaughter, up 12 per cent from a year ago and the highest since December 2016. January-October export value averaged $279.85 per head, up 10 per cent.

Japan, Korea, Hong Kong drive outstanding beef export value growth

Japan continued to be the pacesetter for US beef exports in October, with volume climbing 19 per cent from a year ago to 23,981 mt and value up 23 per cent to $147.1 million. This pushed January-October volume to 260,517 mt (up 22 per cent) valued at $1.59 billion – up 29 per cent and already setting a new single-year record. Chilled beef continues to drive export growth to Japan, with chilled exports up 40 per cent in volume (124,699 mt) and 43 per cent in value ($918.8 million)

"The US beef industry has really broadened its reach in Japan, expanding the range of cuts offered and the retail and foodservice venues in which they are featured," USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said.

"But USMEF remains concerned about market access barriers in Japan, as we face significantly higher tariffs than our main competitor, Australia, and import safeguards that could hinder further growth."

Exports to South Korea continued to climb in October, up 2 per cent in volume (17,224 mt) and 24 per cent in value ($122.4 million) from a year ago. Through October, exports totaled 148,998 mt (up 7 per cent) valued at $979.3 million – 20 per cent above last year’s record pace. Demand for US chilled beef is especially strong in Korea’s retail sector, with chilled beef exports up 88 per cent to 36,773 mt valued at $329 million, up 93 per cent.

Other January-October highlights for US beef exports include:

  • Despite a slow start in 2017, exports to Hong Kong climbed 12 per cent from a year ago in volume (97,334 mt) and 23 per cent higher in value ($646.1 million). Since the mid-June market reopening, exports to China have totaled 1,570 mt valued at $17.2 million.

  • While beef exports to Taiwan slowed in October, January-October results remained 4 per cent ahead of last year’s pace at 36,719 mt, valued at $335.6 million (up 18 per cent). With a strong finish, Taiwan will easily top last year’s value record of $362.8 million.

  • Led by strong increases in Indonesia and Vietnam, beef exports to the ASEAN region increased 57 per cent in volume (34,777 mt) and 46 per cent in value ($173.5 million). Exports were also higher year-over-year to the Philippines.

  • A bounceback year in Peru and strong demand in Chile and Colombia have beef exports to South America on a record pace. Exports increased 27 per cent from a year ago in volume (24,236 mt) and 23 per cent in value ($93.3 million).

  • Beef exports within North America have remained solid in 2017, with shipments to Mexico increasing slightly from last year in both volume (196,604 mt) and value ($813.3 million). Exports to Canada increased 4 per cent in volume (96,401 mt) and 7 per cent in value ($667 million).

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