USMEF Beef exports strong, lamb exports struggle

by Editor
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Photo: US Beef
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Beef Export USA

The US beef export value took another step toward a likely full-year value record, while lamb exports dropped from a year ago in volume but increased in value, according to export results released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef exports reached 111,915 t in November, down 3% from the large volume of November 2016 but still the second-highest monthly total of the year. Export value was also the second-largest of 2017 at $666.4 mill., up 8% year-over-year. January-November export volume totaled 1.15 mill. t, up 7%, while export value climbed to $6.6 bn. – up 15% from a year ago and slightly above the record pace established in 2014.

Beef exports accounted for 13.1% of total production in November, the highest since July but down from 14.9% in November 2016. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 10.9% – down from 11.7% a year ago. For January through November, beef exports accounted for 12.8% of total production (down from 13.5% in 2016) and 10.3% for muscle cuts (steady with 2016).

November beef export value averaged $306.63 per head of fed slaughter, up 4% from a year ago and the highest in nearly three years. January-November export value averaged $282.34 per head, up 9%.

Japan continued to be the pacesetter for US beef exports in November, with volume increasing 5% year-over-year to 24,819 t and value up 6% to $159.2 mill. This pushed Japan’s 11-month totals to 285,336 t (up 20%) valued at $1.75 bn. (up 27% and a new post-BSE record). Chilled beef exports reached 137,707 t through November, up 35%, valued at a record-high $1.02 bn., up 39%.

Approaching Chinese New Year, beef exports to Hong Kong gained momentum in October and climbed again in November, with volume up 20% from a year ago to 16,106 t (the largest since December 2014) and value soaring 43% to $119 mill. Through November, exports to Hong Kong climbed 13% in volume (113,440 t) and 26% in value ($765 mill.). November exports to China were 655 t, the largest since the mid-June market opening, valued at $5.7 mill. Through November, exports reached 2,225 t valued at $22.8 mill.

Other January-November highlights for US beef exports include:

• Driven by strong retail demand and reduced tariffs under KORUS, beef exports to South Korea have already set a new value record. Through November, exports increased 5% year-over-year in volume to 167,532 t, valued at $1.1 bn. – up 19% from a year ago and edging past the 2016 record of $1.06 bn. Chilled beef exports to Korea accelerated at an even faster rate, jumping 88% in volume to a record 41,086 t – valued at $368.5 mill., up 93%.

• A new value record was also established in Taiwan, where US beef holds more than 70% of the chilled beef market. Through November, exports to Taiwan increased 3% from a year ago in volume (40,402 t) while value climbed 16% to $369.9 mill. – breaking the 2016 record of $362.8 mill.

• November beef exports to Mexico dipped 8% in volume from a year ago to 20,161 t, but value increased 2% to $80.8 mill. Through November, exports to Mexico were steady with the first 11 months of 2016 in both volume (216,765 t) and value ($894.1 mill.). Mexico is the second-largest volume market for US beef (behind Japan) and ranks third in value (after Japan and Korea).

• Strong year-over-year growth in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam pushed January-November exports to the ASEAN region to 38,039 t (up 46% year-over-year), valued at $193.3 mill. (up 39%).

• Led by Chile, Peru and Colombia, beef exports to South America have already set new annual records. Through November, exports increased 27% from a year ago in volume (26,786 t) and 23% in value ($106 mill.). Since shipments began in April, exports to Brazil have shown solid potential, reaching 1,998 t valued at $7 mill.

US lamb exports were 520 t in November, down 36% from a year ago and the lowest since April, while export value fell 11.5% to $1.75 mill. For muscle cuts only, November volume was down 12% to 284 t but value increased 2% to $1.51 mill.

Through November, lamb exports dropped 16% from a year ago in volume (6,659 t) but increased 6% in value to $17.8 mill. Muscle cuts exports moved higher year-over-year in both volume (2,197 t, up 10%) and value ($12.89 mill., up 18%). Despite an unusually severe hurricane season, muscle cut exports to the Caribbean increased 12% in volume (596 t) and 37% in value ($4.84 mill.).