Expect Big U.S. Beef Exports to Korea, Japan in 2020


by Betsy Jibben, AgWeb 

Feb 10, 2020


The Federation released its year-end numbers on 2019 export sales last week. The federation says beef exports are down slightly from the record year of 2018. However, they say demand is still very strong.


The federation says the decline in U.S. beef exports from the record levels of 2018 are partially attributable to lower shipments to Japan. Those shipments are down in volume and value. USMEF doesn’t expect that to be the case for long.


“[In January], we have the import data and the numbers are big,” says Dan Halstrom, President of USMEF. “Packers and traders are selling to Japan, especially on frozen, had big weeks in the first two weeks of January. This is exactly what we thought would happen.”


Halstrom says there are some new beef export records for Korea and Taiwan and he expects those shipments to continue.


The beef industry has been waiting for 2020 as a whole.


“Now that we have the Japanese deal, we are in pretty good shape,” says Bill Wight, a producer from Odessa, Texas.


Falling herd numbers and now new trade deals could help increase beef shipments around the world.


“A lot of better things [are to] come in 2020,” says Halstrom.


The unexpected coronavirus in China is impacting the livestock markets negatively with officials not sure how long it will last.


“We don’t know when this coronavirus will be corralled,” says Sonny Perdue, the USDA Ag. Secretary. “We don’t know how long it will go on.”


Halstrom says the numbers aren’t tallied yet to see if there’s a slow-down in China. However, they do have some insight on imports to the country.


“I would say we haven’t seen a slowdown outside of China but it’s probably a little too early to tell,” says Halstrom.


Aside from the virus, China is still a small export market. Halstrom says it’s currently less than one percent of U.S. beef.


However, analysts expect that to change...


more, including video report [3:29 min.]