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Exports Remain Strong Through July

14 September 2010

US - July values for US beef exports dipped slightly from the totals achieved in June but still easily exceeded year-ago levels, posting a jump of nearly 40 per cent ahead of 2009 levels.

Based on statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a contractor of the beef checkoff, beef export value surged to $366.3 million in July, pushing the cumulative January-July value to more than $2.19 billion – 25 per cent ahead of last year's pace and virtually even with the pre-BSE peak value of 2003. In terms of volume, the 1.3 billion pounds of beef exported through July is 15 percent higher than in 2009.

Despite being well below last year's results in Mexico – the No. 1 export market for US beef – and remaining relatively flat in No. 2 market Canada, beef exports are performing extremely well across the globe. South Korea, Vietnam and Russia posted the largest year-over-year increases in July, but strong growth also is being achieved this year in Japan, the Middle East, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the European Union and the Caribbean.

Exports to Mexico still trail last year's pace by more than 20 percent in both volume (306 million pounds) and value ($450.5 million), but showed signs of strengthening in July as export value ($70.1 million) was just 3.5 percent below last year's level.

"While Mexico has been very slow to recover from the economic crisis that first took hold two years ago, we are beginning to see some promising signs," said Chad Russell, USMEF regional director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic.

"The peso has strengthened modestly in the past few months, and US beef still holds a very strong market share in Mexico. Consumer confidence and buying power also appear to be on the upswing, and recent sales results for US beef reflect that. While we are still a long way from the outstanding results US beef achieved here in 2008 … we are headed in the right direction."

January-July exports to Canada were even with last year in terms of volume, at about 186 million pounds, but up six per cent in value at $387.4 million. In every other major market, results are substantially above year-ago levels. Beef highlights include:

  • Exports to Japan are 25 per cent higher, both in terms of volume (143.2 million pounds) and value ($336.2 million). A US Meat and Export Federation promotion with nearly 13,000 7-Eleven stores in Japan has helped fuel US beef sales there. The "Sumibiyaki Gyu Karubi Bento" promotion is projected to sell 30 million bento (lunch) boxes containing US beef short plate during the coming year.

  • Korea continues to climb the export-market rankings, with results of 139.3 million pounds valued at $290.8 million – an increase of 122 per cent and 162 per cent, respectively.

  • Viet Nam is still the leading market in the ASEAN region, with exports during the seven-month period of 68.4 million pounds valued at $112.5 million – up six per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. But more dramatic growth in Indonesia and the Philippines pushed the ASEAN region's results 28 percent higher in volume (98.5 million pounds) and 33 per cent higher in value ($145.5 million).

  • Led by strong exports to Egypt, the Middle East was up 31 per cent in volume (154 million pounds) and 56 per cent in value ($77.3 million), as the region shows an increasing appetite for US muscle cuts. Excellent results were also achieved in The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

  • Exports to Russia totaled nearly 73 million pounds valued at $94.1 million – an increase of 154 per cent in volume and 575 per cent in value, reflecting a surge in muscle cut demand. Muscle cut exports to Russia reached 37.3 million pounds but likely will slow during the remainder of 2010 as the US share (47.8 million pounds) of Russia's import quota is nearly filled. The higher out-of-quota tariff rates do not, however, apply to variety meat.

  • Taiwan is likely headed for another new value record this year, with January-July results reaching $109.7 million – up 48 per cent compared to last year's record pace. Volume was up 36 per cent to 45.3 million pounds.

    Exports to Hong Kong were up 66 per cent in volume (41 million pounds) and 87 per cent in value ($68.9 million).

"In every corner of the world, U.S. beef has made tremendous strides this year," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng.

"And as Mexico begins to show signs of an economic recovery, our product is well-positioned to capitalize because we are still the dominant provider in that market. If we can move Mexico back into the 'plus' column, the global results will be even more impressive."

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