USA, Washington. US beef exports remained on a record-shattering value pace in October, according to data released by USDA and compiled by USMEF. October pork exports trended seasonally higher compared to recent months but were still below the results posted in October 2017.
October beef exports totaled 117,838 t, up 6% from a year ago, valued at $727.4 mill. – up 10% and the second-highest monthly total on record. For January through October, beef exports totaled 1.13 mill. t, up 9% year-over-year, while value was up 17% to $6.92 bn. For beef muscle cuts only, exports increased 12% in volume (867,714 t) and 19% in value ($6.19 bn).
Exports accounted for 13% of total beef production in October, which was steady with last year, and 11.6% for muscle cuts only (down slightly). For January through October, exports accounted for 13.5% of total production and 11.1% for muscle cuts – up from 12.8% and 10.2%, respectively, last year. Beef export value equated to $317.53 per head of fed slaughter in October, up 5% from a year ago. For January through October, the per-head average was up 15% to $320.50.
October pork export volume was 207,725 t, the largest since May but still 2% lower year-over-year, reflecting smaller variety meat exports. Export value ($536.5 mill.) was also the largest since May but still down 5% from a year ago. For January through October, pork exports were 1% above last year’s record pace at 2.02 mill. t, while value was also up 1% to $5.33 bn. For pork muscle cuts only, January-October exports increased 5% from a year ago in volume (1.63 mill. t), valued at $4.43 bn. (up 2%).
October exports accounted for 23.6% of total pork production, down from 25.4% a year ago. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 20.7% – down from 21.6% in October 2017. For January through October, pork exports accounted for 25.8% of total production, down from 26.4% last year, but the percentage of muscle cuts exported increased from 22 to 22.5%. Export value per head slaughtered was down 10% from a year ago in October to $46.07. The January-October average was $51.74, down 2%.
The upcoming trade negotiations with Japan are critical for the US pork and beef industries, as all major competitors in the Japanese market will soon benefit from significant tariff reductions.
New value records for US beef in Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines
Beef exports to South Korea, which had already set a new annual value record through September, remained on a torrid pace as October exports reached 20,171 t (up 17% from a year ago) valued at $153.1 mill. (up 25%). January-October exports were up 35% in volume (200,666 t) and 47% in value ($1.44 bn). These results included a 21% increase in chilled beef exports to 44,440 t, valued at $431 mill. (up 31%). While Korea’s imports from Australia and New Zealand have also edged higher in 2018, US beef’s market share has increased sharply, jumping from 49 to 53%.
October beef exports to leading market Japan were up 12% from a year ago in volume (26,954 t) and 13% higher in value ($166.8 mill). For January through October, exports to Japan were up 7% from a year ago in volume (279,825 t) while value increased 10% to $1.76 bn. Chilled beef exports to Japan were down 1% to 123,712 t, but value increased 8% to $990 mill.
New record for US pork in Korea, growth in Japan
Pork exports to South Korea continued to gain momentum in October, increasing 27% from a year ago in volume (19,588 t) and 17% in value ($49.2 mill). January-October exports to Korea increased 41% in volume (191,610 t) and 44% in value ($538.4 mill) – already topping the annual records set in 2011. Even as imports from all main suppliers have expanded this year, U.S. share of Korea’s pork imports has increased significantly, rising from 36 to 39%.
October pork exports to leading value market Japan totaled 35,134 t, up 8% from a year ago, while export value climbed 9%to $146.6 mill. This pushed January-October exports 2% ahead of last year’s pace in volume (330,480 t) and 3% higher in value ($1.36 bn). This included a slight decrease in chilled pork volume (176,118 t) while value was up 2% to $849 mill. U.S. share of Japan’s pork imports held close to 35%, down slightly from last year. But Japan imported a record volume of ground seasoned pork from the European Union in October and US share in that category has dropped from 71 to 65% in 2018. Unfortunately this trend is likely to continue with upcoming implementation of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will reduce tariffs on all pork and phase the import duty on ground seasoned pork to zero over the next six years.
Led by strong growth in the Philippines and Vietnam, October pork exports to the ASEAN region increased 91% in volume (9,009 t) and 59% in value ($22 mill). January-October exports increased 46% in volume (58,415 t) and 33% in value ($145.5 mill). This was fueled in part by a surge in pork variety meat exports to the region, which more than doubled in both volume (24,090 t, up 149%) and value ($39 mill., up 126%).