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US Beef Exports Remain Solid

16 November 2018

US - US beef exports remained very strong in September while pork exports continued to be impacted by retaliatory duties in China and Mexico, according to data released by USDA and compiled by USMEF. Beef exports cooled from the record results posted in August, but were still significantly higher year-over-year.

September beef exports totaled 110,160 metric tons (mt), up 6 per cent from a year ago, valued at $687.1 million – up 11 per cent. For January through September, beef exports were just over 1 million mt, up 9 per cent from a year ago, while value surged 18 per cent to $6.2 billion. For beef muscle cuts only, the year-over-year increases were even more impressive, jumping 13 per cent in volume (777,740 mt) and 20 per cent in value ($5.54 billion).

Exports accounted for 13.7 per cent of total beef production in September and 11.4 per cent for muscle cuts only, up from 12.5 per cent and 10.4 per cent, respectively, a year ago. For the first three quarters of 2018, exports accounted for 13.5 per cent of total production (up from 12.8 per cent) and 11.1 per cent for muscle cuts – up one full percentage point from last year. Beef export value equated to $334.63 per head of fed slaughter in September and $320.85 for January through September, each up 16 per cent from a year ago.

"With a full quarter still to be reported, beef export value records are already being surpassed in some markets and global value is on track for $8 billion by year’s end," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. 

New value record in Korea tops beef export highlights

South Korea has been the growth pacesetter for US beef exports in 2018, and September was no exception. Exports to Korea were up 22 per cent from a year ago in volume (19,116 mt) and were 29 per cent higher in value ($143.1 million). January-September exports reached 180,495 mt, up 37 per cent from a year ago, while export value soared 51 per cent to $1.29 billion, already breaking last year’s full-year value record. These results included a 28 per cent increase in chilled beef exports to 40,372 mt, valued at $391 million (up 38 per cent). US share of Korea’s total beef imports has increased sharply this year, from 44.7 to 48.7 per cent, as US beef underpins Korea’s growing beef consumption.

September beef exports to leading market Japan were up 4 per cent from a year ago in both volume (28,086 mt) and value ($172.3 million). For the first three quarters of 2018, exports to Japan were up 7 per cent from a year ago in volume (252,871 mt) while value increased 10 per cent to $1.59 billion. Chilled beef exports to Japan were down 1 per cent to 111,908 mt, but value still climbed 7 per cent to $895 million. On a value basis, the US is the top supplier to Japan with 46.8 per cent of imports, up slightly from the first three quarters of 2017. But on a volume basis, US beef accounted for just under 42 per cent of total imports, down from 43 per cent in the same period last year and trailing Australia’s 48.6 per cent share. With the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) set to enter into force 30 December, the tariff advantage enjoyed by Australian beef will be extended to all of US beef’s major competitors in Japan with another duty reduction on 1 April, the start of Japan’s fiscal year.

For January through September, other highlights for US beef exports include:

  • Beef exports to Taiwan were up 32 per cent from a year ago in volume (43,539 mt), while value reached $403.8 million – up 36 per cent and just short of last year’s annual record of $409.7 million. Chilled exports to Taiwan were up 29 per cent in volume (17,523 mt) and 36 per cent in value ($221 million), as the United States captured 75 per cent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market – the highest market share of any Asian destination.

  • Exports to Mexico were up 1 per cent from a year ago in volume (177,906 mt) and 8 per cent higher in value ($783.1 million). With a strong fourth quarter, exports to Mexico should top $1 billion for the first time since 2015.

  • After slowing in the summer months, beef exports to China/Hong Kong rebounded in September (10,076 mt valued at $82 million). This pushed January-September results 6 per cent higher than a year ago in volume (89,660 mt) and 28 per cent higher in value ($720.8 million). This included exports to China of 5,114 mt valued at $44.2 million.

  • A strong performance in the Philippines and solid growth in Vietnam pushed beef exports to the ASEAN region 13 per cent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (33,924 mt) and 25 per cent higher in value ($186.6 million).

  • Strong September results pushed exports to South Africa 8 per cent higher year-over-year in volume (11,508 mt), while value jumped 28 per cent to $11.7 million. Exports to Angola also increased significantly in both volume (2,643 mt, up 15 per cent) and value ($3.6 million, up 45 per cent). Exports to Africa (which do not include Egypt) were down 8 per cent in volume (16,880 mt) but still increased 8 per cent in value ($18.9 million).

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