USA, Washington. January exports of US beef were significantly higher than the large totals of a year ago, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Beef exports totaled 105,486 t in January, up 9% year-over-year, while export value surged 21% to $624.4 mill. Exports accounted for 12.4% of total beef production in January, up slightly from a year ago. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported increased from 9.5% to 10.1%. Beef export value averaged $293.06 per head of fed slaughter, up 14% year-over-year.
For muscle cuts only, beef exports reached 80,495 t (up 15%) valued at $555.7 mill. (up 23%). Beef variety meat volume fell 5% to just under 25,000 t, but value increased 7% to $68.8 mill.
“January export results were solid overall and were especially strong for muscle cuts,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Despite the decline in variety meat volume, export value continued to increase. This underscores the important contribution variety meats deliver for producers and for everyone in the US supply chain.”
US beef continued to gain momentum in the Japanese market, with January exports increasing 7% from a year ago in volume (23,968 t) and 19% in value ($148.6 mill.). This included a 30% increase in chilled beef exports to 12,411 t, valued at $92.4 mill. (up 38%). Frozen exports declined 13% in volume (8,141 t) but increased slightly in value ($33.1 mill.). Frozen US beef entering Japan is subject to a 50% safeguard tariff, which is scheduled to revert back to 38.5% on 1 April, the beginning of the new Japanese fiscal year.
Other January highlights for US beef included:
• Exports to South Korea, which reached a record $1.2 bn. in 2017, increased 13% from a year ago to 17,133 t, while export value soared 34% to $122.3 mill. This included a 54% increase in chilled beef exports to 3,954 t, valued at $36.9 mill., up 63%. Through the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), the duty on US beef was reduced to 21.3% on 1 January, down significantly from the pre-KORUS rate of 40%.
• Following large shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017, exports to Hong Kong slowed in January, but still easily exceeded last year’s totals, increasing 41% from a year ago in volume (10,493 t) and 53% in value ($79.8 mill.). Exports to China, which resumed in June after a 13-year absence, hit a new monthly high of 819 t in January valued at $7.5 mill.
• Exports to Taiwan posted impressive gains in January, increasing 17% in volume to 4,207 t. Export value increased 41% to $42 mill.
• Led by solid gains in Indonesia and Vietnam, exports to the ASEAN region climbed 22% in volume (3,108 t) and 13% in value ($15.9 mill.).
• Strong results in Chile and Colombia fueled beef exports to South America, which increased 90% in volume (3,307 t) and 65% in value ($13.9 mill.).
• Exports to Central America jumped 40% in volume (1,082 t) and 32% in value ($5.9 mill.), led by a strong performance in Guatemala and larger variety meat shipments to El Salvador.
• Beef exports to Africa were mostly variety meat in 2017, but January produced a large increase in muscle cut exports to Angola and South Africa. As a result, total exports to Africa were up 19% in volume (954 t) and surged 88% in value to $1.4 mill.