US Beef Exports Gain Momentum in Japan, South Korea, Mexico

US - US red meat exports gained momentum in May with shipments of beef increasing significantly year-over-year and reaching 2016 highs, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the beef checkoff.
calendar icon 12 July 2016
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May beef export volume increased 12 per cent from a year ago to 219.3 million pounds. 

Exports accounted for 14 per cent of total beef production in May and 11 per cent for muscle cuts only – each up about 1 percentage point from a year ago.

Export value per head of fed slaughter was $264.98 in May and $249.67 for January through May – down 9 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, from a year ago.

Japan, Korea, Mexico drive beef export growth

May beef exports to Japan were the largest since September 2014 at 51.1 million pounds, up 29 per cent from a year ago. Meanwhile, exports to South Korea reached 34.1 million pounds in May, up 59 per cent from a year ago and the largest in more than five years. 

“With domestic beef supplies being very tight in both Japan and Korea, our spring marketing campaigns have focused on presenting US beef as a high-quality, reasonably priced alternative,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng.

Despite the continued weakness of the peso, beef exports to Mexico gained momentum in May, increasing 33 per cent from a year ago in volume (49.3 million pounds) and 13 per cent in value ($90.4 million).

“From a price standpoint, the Mexican beef market is certainly one of our most challenging,” Mr Seng said. “But with US beef prices moderating in recent months, this creates excellent opportunities to win back customers – especially by promoting economically priced alternative cuts, which add quality and variety to restaurant menus and have also gained traction in the retail sector.”


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