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November Beef Exports Continue 2009 Rebound

18 January 2010

US - US beef exports continued their rebound from the slump earlier in the year, while beef exports edged four per cent above year-ago levels, according to statistics released by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

November’s total beef exports reached 76,693 metric tons (169 million pounds), with muscle cuts enjoying a 23 per cent hike over year-ago levels while variety meat slipped 27 per cent.

While the export increase is a positive sign that economic indicators around the globe are pointing up, total beef exports remain behind 2008 levels. For the first 11 months of 2009, the US has exported 819,778 metric tons (1.8 billion pounds) of beef valued at more than $2.8 billion.

Beef is down 10 per cent in volume and 16 per cent in value compared to 2008.

Beef trends

The top markets for US beef (muscle cuts plus variety meat) through the first 11 months of 2009 based on volume continue to be Mexico, followed by Canada, the Middle East, Japan and the ASEAN (primarily Vietnam). When measured in value, Mexico remains the leader, followed by Canada, Japan, South Korea and the ASEAN.

Negative publicity surrounding beef trade with Taiwan may have impacted that market’s performance, as beef exports declined in November when compared to the previous month. However, November beef exports to Taiwan still exceeded year-ago levels by about three per cent in volume and more than 16 per cent in value.

Beef exports to Mexico continue to slump as that country remains plagued by the lingering economic downturn. Total US beef exports year-to-date are down 27 per cent in volume and 35 per cent in value. The downturn in this one key market alone accounts for 98.2 per cent in the decline in beef export volume compared to 2008 and 82.7 per cent of the decline in the value of exports versus last year.

“Our neighbor to the south is a critical partner for the US beef industry,” said Mr Seng. “While the economic challenges there are considerable, our team in Mexico is working diligently in partnership with retailers and food service to rejuvenate their marketing programmes and raise the visibility of US beef.”

Exports to Canada also have declined this year – down eight per cent in volume and 12 per cent in value.

The most significant gains in US beef exports have come from Japan (up 23 per cent each in volume and value), the ASEAN (up 21 per cent in volume and 20 per cent in value) and the greater Hong Kong/China region (up 139 per cent in volume and 97 per cent in value).

“Despite the limitation on beef exports to Japan from cattle under 21 months of age, we continue to regain market share there,” said Mr Seng. “Our team in Japan is working very hard to maintain that momentum in 2010 with partnerships like the one that just started with Gust Restaurant chain where our goal is selling 1.5 million chuck eye roll steaks in a three-month promotion. That kind of collaboration with our retail and food service partners is essential to sustaining our export growth.”

Complete statistics are available here.

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