Strong Finish for 2016 US Red Meat Exports

US - US pork and beef exports wrapped up an excellent 2016 performance with very strong December results, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.
calendar icon 10 February 2017
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Beef exports increased 11 per cent in volume (1.19 million mt) and 1 per cent in value ($6.34 billion) from 2015. December exports totaled 116,847 mt, up 24 per cent year-over-year. This was the largest monthly volume since July 2013 and the largest ever for December. Export value was $619.1 million in December, up 22 per cent.

Exports accounted for 13.7 per cent of total beef production in 2016 and 10.5 per cent for muscle cuts – up from 13.1 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, in 2015. December exports accounted for 15.6 per cent of total December beef production and 12.1 per cent for muscle cuts only – each up more than 2 percentage points from a year ago and the highest since 2011. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $262.17, down 6 per cent from 2015, but the December average was $301.97 – up 14 per cent and the highest in nearly two years.

Asian markets drive strong beef export growth

Driven by strong demand for higher-value chilled cuts, beef exports achieved new value records in South Korea and Taiwan in 2016, and rebounded strongly in Japan.

In Korea, December beef exports soared by 81 per cent in volume (20,333 mt) and 88 per cent in value ($130 million) from a year ago, capping a remarkable year in which exports totaled 179,280 mt (up 42 per cent) valued at $1.06 billion – up 31 per cent from a year ago and breaking the previous value record by more than 20 per cent. Korea’s per capita beef consumption set a new record in 2016 of 34 pounds (carcass weight) – so the US not only gained market share, but also capitalized on the market’s overall growth.

Beef exports to Taiwan were also strong in December, with export value ($43.3 million) hitting its highest level ever. Full-year exports to Taiwan were up 25 per cent in volume to 44,053 mt and 14 per cent in value to $362.8 million.

2016 exports to Japan were the largest of the post-BSE era at 258,653 mt, up 26 per cent year-over-year. Export value totaled $1.51 billion, up 18 per cent. Chilled beef exports to Japan totaled 112,334 mt, up 44 per cent from 2015.

“In addition to the strength of the US dollar, US beef overcame other severe challenges in these north Asian markets and achieved remarkable results,” said Philip Seng, USMEF President and CEO.

“Despite facing higher tariff rates in Japan compared to Australian beef, US beef displaced its competition and won't back significant market share. And the investment the US industry made to rebuild consumer confidence in Korea is paying tremendous dividends, especially in the retail sector. We’re seeing US beef featured regularly by retailers who were once reluctant to carry the product.”

Other 2016 highlights for US beef included:

  • Beef exports to Mexico increased 7 per cent year-over-year in volume to 242,373 mt, though value fell 11 per cent to $974.9 million. While challenged by a weak peso, Mexico remains a key destination for muscle cuts such as shoulder clods and rounds, as well as for beef variety meat.

  • Led by strong growth in Chile and a doubling of exports to Colombia, beef exports to South America increased 6 per cent in volume to 22,810 mt, valued at $92.7 million (down 2 per cent). The region should see further growth in 2017 with the reopening of Brazil.

  • Exports to Central America were up 7 per cent in volume (12,745 mt) with top market Guatemala up 1 per cent and exports to Honduras nearly doubling. Export value was $71.8 million, up 1 per cent.

  • Fueled by a resurgence in Indonesia and solid growth in Vietnam, beef exports to the ASEAN region were up 41 per cent in volume (29,920 mt) and 15 per cent in value ($156.9 million). Indonesia expanded access for US beef in early August. Despite being closed to many products through the first seven months of the year, US exports to Indonesia set a new value record of $39.4 million.

  • Beef variety meat exports increased 10 per cent in volume (341,433 mt) and 4 per cent in value ($902.2 million) in 2016. Liver exports increased 12 per cent to 81,727 and reached a broader range of markets. While liver exports to Egypt – the largest destination for US livers – increased 4 per cent, further growth was achieved in Central and South America and with the reopening of South Africa to US beef.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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