July exports of US pork and beef were higher than a year ago, according to data released by USDA and compiled by USMEF. Export value results were mixed, with beef exports posting another near-record month while pork export value declined, reflecting the impact of retaliatory duties imposed by Mexico and China.
Led by another spectacular performance in South Korea and strong growth in Japan, Taiwan and Latin America, July beef exports climbed 12 per cent in volume to 116,575 mt, valued at $722 million – up 16 per cent from a year ago and just slightly below the May 2018 record of $722.1 million. For January through July, beef exports established a record pace in both volume (779,450 mt, up 10 per cent year-over-year) and value ($4.76 billion, up 20 per cent).
July exports accounted for 14 per cent of total beef production and 11.8 per cent for muscle cuts only (the highest since December 2016) – each up nearly a full percentage point from a year ago. For January through July, exports accounted for 13.5 per cent of total beef production and 11.1 per cent for muscle cuts – up from 12.8 per cent and 10.1 per cent, respectively, last year. Beef export value averaged $326.18 per head of fed slaughter in July, up 9 per cent from a year ago. Through July, per-head export value was up 16 per cent to $318.31.
“The worldwide momentum for US beef has rarely been as strong as it is today,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “To a large degree our mainstay Asian markets are driving this growth, but emerging markets in Asia and in the Western Hemisphere are also displaying a tremendous appetite for US beef and contributing significantly to the surge in export value. From high-end restaurants to convenience stores, US beef is gaining new fans across the globe on a daily basis.”
Beef export value reaching new heights in wide range of markets
US beef exports to Japan hit a post-BSE volume high in July, reaching 31,883 mt (up 15 per cent from a year ago) valued at $196.3 million (up 12 per cent). For January through July, exports were up 7 per cent in volume (191,237 mt) and 12 per cent in value ($1.21 billion). This included a 4 per cent increase in chilled beef exports to 87,034 mt valued at $694.9 million (up 13 per cent). US beef has captured 50 per cent of Japan’s chilled import market this year, down slightly from a year ago.
Beef export growth to Korea continued at a remarkable pace in July, with volume up 51 per cent from a year ago to 23,614 mt and value soaring 66 per cent to $169.2 million. This shattered the previous monthly value record of $154.8 million, set in June 2018. For January through July, exports to Korea jumped 38 per cent to 136,897 mt, valued at $971.2 million (up 54 per cent). This included a 33 per cent increase in chilled beef exports to 29,923 mt, valued at $289.2 million (up 45 per cent). US beef has accounted for 58 per cent of Korea’s chilled beef imports this year and 53 per cent of the chilled/frozen total (up from 54 per cent and 47 per cent, respectively, during the same period last year). Australia is expected to trigger its beef safeguard in the coming weeks, resulting in a temporary tariff rate increase agreed to in the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement. This could further strengthen momentum for US chilled beef to Korea through the end of this year.
Other January-July highlights for US beef include:
- Although export volume to China/Hong Kong slowed in July, the January-July total was still up 10 per cent from a year ago to 72,193 mt, while value climbed 37 per cent to $572.9 million. Efforts to build a presence for US beef in China have been hampered by retaliatory duties, which increased the tariff rate from 12 to 37 per cent in early July. January-July exports to China were 4,138 mt valued at $36.4 million.
- US beef is enormously popular in Taiwan, where the United States captures nearly 75 per cent of the chilled beef market. July export volume was record-large at 5,640 mt, up 46 per cent from a year ago, while value climbed 32 per cent to $48 million. Through July, exports to Taiwan increased 34 per cent from a year ago in volume (32,504 mt) and 38 per cent in value ($297.7 million). Chilled beef exports totaled 13,040 mt (up 32 per cent) valued at $161.3 million (up 41 per cent).
- Despite recent trade tensions and uncertainty, beef exports to Mexico have been very solid in 2018, with volume up 2 per cent from a year ago to 137,560 mt and value up 9 per cent to $596.5 million. For muscle cuts only, exports increased 10 per cent in volume to 80,450 mt and 11 per cent in value to $465.7 million.
- Strong growth in the Philippines helped push beef exports to the ASEAN region 9 per cent higher in volume (25,520 mt) and 24 per cent higher in value ($141.6 million). Exports to Singapore and Indonesia have also increased this year, though volumes to Indonesia slowed the past two months.
- In Central America, larger volumes to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama pushed exports 29 per cent higher in volume (8,320 mt) and 28 per cent higher in value ($45.4 million). Despite a modest decline in volume, export value also increased to Honduras.