Annual US beef export records still within reach - USMEF

September exports to China/Hong Kong 5% higher year-on-year
calendar icon 24 November 2022
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Despite China’s zero-COVID policies that result in travel restrictions and periodic lockdowns in metropolitan areas, September beef exports to China/Hong Kong were still 5% higher year-over-year at 23,517 mt, though well off the record total posted in August (30,806 mt), according to a recent report from the US Meat Export Federation. September export value increased 7% to $217.2 million. January-September exports to the region increased 23% to 217,028 mt, while value was up 34% to just under $2 billion. China/Hong Kong is now the second highest value destination for US beef, trailing only South Korea. It remains the third largest volume market behind Japan and Korea.

September beef export volume to Korea was down 5% from a year ago at 22,120 mt, while export value declined 9% to $188.8 million – the lowest in 15 months. Through September, exports to Korea remained 3% above last year’s record pace at 219,869 mt, with value up 24% to $2.12 billion. Similar to pork, Korea recently opened a 100,000 mt, duty-free quota for imported beef, which helped bolster beef demand amid rising inflation and sharp devaluation of the Korean won. However, the quota also temporarily eliminated US beef’s tariff rate advantage over major competitors. The quota was scheduled to remain open through the end of the year, but it was fully utilized by mid-October.

Declining purchasing power is also a growing obstacle in Japan, where September beef exports totaled 24,520 mt, down 18% from a year ago. Export value was $177.5 million, also down 18%. Beef variety meat exports (mainly tongues and skirts), declined sharply for the second consecutive month, falling 50% from a year ago to 4,104 mt. Japan remains the leading value destination for US beef variety meat exports, and despite a 15% decline in January-September volume (41,649 mt), export value still climbed 23% above last year’s record pace at $421 million. Through September, total beef and beef variety meat exports to Japan totaled 236,718 mt, down 4% from a year ago, while export value increased 8% to $1.85 billion.

Other January-September results for US beef exports include:

  • Led by record exports to the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago, and rebounding demand in Jamaica and the Bahamas, beef exports to the Caribbean totaled 21,633 mt, up 23% from the first three quarters of last year. Export value soared 45% to $180.9 million, reflecting a strong recovery in the region’s foodservice and hospitality sectors and expectation of a strong upcoming peak season.
  • The foodservice sector has also driven a rebound in beef exports to the Middle East, where January-September shipments reached 50,206 mt, up 9% from a year ago, while export value jumped 56% to $230.8 million. For beef muscle cuts, export growth to the region was led by the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar. Egypt is a mainstay market for beef variety meat exports and the leading destination for beef livers. Through September, variety meat exports to Egypt were steady with last year’s volume at 35,417 mt, but value climbed 42% to $65.2 million.
  • While beef exports to Taiwan remain on a record pace in 2022, September shipments declined sharply from last year’s large totals – falling 27% in both volume (3,914 mt) and value ($44.1 million). Through September, exports to Taiwan still climbed 10% to 51,779 mt, valued at $605.5 million (up 28%).
  • In the ASEAN, beef exports are on a record pace to the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia. Through September, exports to the region increased 12% from a year ago to 48,610 mt, while value jumped 58% to $354.4 million. Although down from the August record, exports to the Philippines remained strong in September, more than tripling last year’s volume (2,328 mt, up 233%) and climbing 97% in value to $13.8 million.
  • Although beef exports to Colombia took a step back in September (563 mt, down 22% from a year ago), January-September exports remained well above last year’s record pace at 7,253 mt (up 41%). Export value increased 47% to $34.4 million.
  • September beef export value equated to $418.67 per head of fed slaughter, down 6% from a year ago, but the January-September average was still up 20% to $465.48. Exports accounted for 14.1% of total September beef production and 12.1% for muscle cuts only, down from 15.7% and 13%, respectively, in September 2021. The January-September ratios were a record 15.4% and 13.2%, up from 15.1% and 12.8%, respectively, a year ago.
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