Strong Finish to First Half for Beef Exports
Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF)
Aug 5, 2019
U.S. pork and beef exports were above year-ago levels in both volume and value in June, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Led by a rebound in Mexico and China, pork export value was the highest in 14 months, while strong results in South Korea and Taiwan pushed beef export value to the fourth-highest total on record…
Beef exports were up 3% year-over-year in June to 118,677 mt. Export value ($724.8 million) increased just 1% from a year ago but trailed only August 2018, May 2019, and October 2018 for the highest monthly value total on record. First-half beef exports were down 2% from a year ago in volume (648,765 mt) but held steady with last year’s record value pace at $4.03 billion.
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $325.10 in June, up 4% from a year ago, while first-half export value averaged $312.06 per head, down 2%. June exports accounted for 15.4% of total U.S. beef production, up nearly a full percentage point from last year. For muscle cuts only, exports accounted for 12.7% of production – up from 12.3% last year and the highest ratio since July 2018. For the first half of the year, exports accounted for 14.2% of total production and 11.6% for muscle cuts – down from 14.6% and 11.9%, respectively, a year ago.
Korea, Taiwan lead beef export growth; variety meat exports rebound
Last year South Korea surpassed Mexico as the second-largest destination for U.S. beef exports, and in 2019 it continues to close the gap on leading market Japan. Exports to Korea remained on a record pace in June, increasing 2% from a year ago to 25,118 mt (a post-BSE high), while value climbed 15% to a record $178.3 million. These results pushed first-half exports to Korea 12% above last year in volume (126,879 mt) and 15% higher in value ($921.8 million). U.S. beef now accounts for 61% of Korea’s chilled beef imports, up from 57% in the first half of last year, with chilled volume increasing 7% to 26,537 mt.
Beef exports to Taiwan finished a very strong second quarter with June shipments reaching a new monthly high of 6,654 mt, up 40% from a year ago, valued at $58 million (up 46% and the second-highest on record). First-half exports to Taiwan were 16% above last year’s record pace in volume (31,132 mt) and 11% higher in value ($276.2 million).
As noted above, U.S. beef faces a significant tariff rate disadvantage in leading market Japan, where June exports totaled 29,794 mt, down 4% year-over-year, while value was down 7% to $179 million. For the first half of the year, exports to Japan were 1% below last year’s pace in both volume (157,839 mt) and value (just over $1 billion). Japan’s imports of Australian beef have also slowed this year, but first-half imports from Canada, New Zealand and Mexico were up 83%, 37% and 28%, respectively, offering a glimpse of the upside opportunities in the market when tariff rates are lowered.
“It is very gratifying to see U.S. beef posting such remarkable gains in Korea and Taiwan, and the $2 billion milestone could even be in play this year for Korea,” Halstrom said. “Exports to Japan can definitely achieve a similar trajectory if the U.S. can get back on a level playing field with our competitors, so we are encouraged by the progress in the U.S.-Japan trade negotiations.”
Other first-half highlights for U.S. beef include:
· June exports of beef variety meat were the largest in two years at 28,195 mt, up 13% from a year ago, while value also climbed 13% to $79.7 million. This pushed first-half export volume even with last year at 158,466 mt while value increased 8% to $472.9 million. The large June increase was primarily driven by growth in Japan and Indonesia, while exports to Egypt rebounded from last year’s low levels.
· Though first-half export volume to Mexico was down 3% year-over-year to 114,541 mt, export value increased 6% to $539.1 million. Beef muscle cut exports to Mexico slowed in June but still finished the first half up 4% from a year ago in volume (70,333 mt) and 8% in value ($422 million).
· U.S. beef muscle cuts also have a rapidly growing presence in Colombia, where first-half muscle cut exports increased 29% from a year ago in volume (1,919 mt) and 36% in value ($11.2 million). Combined beef and beef variety meat exports to Colombia were up 1% from a year ago to 2,991 mt while value climbed 27% to $12.4 million. First-half exports to Chile, the top South American market for U.S. beef, increased 5% to 6,144 mt, with value up 7% to $34.3 million.
· The Dominican Republic has emerged as a strong growth market for U.S. beef, with first-half exports soaring 57% above last year’s record pace in volume (4,524 mt) and gaining 47% in value to $36.2 million.
· Fueled by strong growth in the Philippines and Indonesia, first-half exports to the ASEAN region increased 23% from a year ago in volume (26,711 mt) and 8% in value ($132.4 million).
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