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Beef Exports Continue Growth Trend

12 June 2014

US - US beef exports continued their positive growth trend in April, increasing by double digits in volume and by an even healthier margin in value, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.

Higher prices commanded in the global market have driven up per-head export values for U.S. beef, as international customers have, so far, been willing to pay higher prices for larger volumes.

The US exported 218.9 million pounds of beef in April valued at $537.4 million, increases of 15 and 24 percent, respectively.

Year-to-date, beef exports are up 10 percent in volume and 17 percent in value to 829.7 million pounds valued at $2.05 billion.

“Even with the large volume of Australian beef, we are still seeing demand grow in most of our key markets and remain steady in others,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

“It is encouraging to see solid growth in sales to markets where the U.S. industry has made the biggest commitment in resources. A good example would be Korea, where export volumes have struggled since 2012 but, as Korea’s domestic supply levels of beef normalize, we are seeing a robust rebound in demand for U.S. products.”

Beef exports in April accounted for 14 percent of total U.S. beef production and 11 percent of muscle cuts alone, increases from 12 and 9 percent, respectively, last April. Export value per head of fed slaughter equated to $262.41 for the month, up from $207.70 a year ago. Strong beef exports to Asia helped support near-record prices for short plates, short ribs and chuck short ribs.

Beef export markets of note in April included:

  • Mexico: volume up 16 percent to 41.1 million pounds valued at $86 million, a 31 percent increase over April of 2013, although off March highs, contributed to sustained high prices for U.S. rounds and shoulder clods.
  • Japan: the top destination for U.S. beef in April took 45.4 million pounds, down 4 percent but valued at $130.6 million, even with last year.
  • Hong Kong: continues its rapid growth with volume up 99 percent (25.1 million pounds) and value up 133 percent ($82.2 million).
  • South Korea: volume up 27 percent to 19 million pounds and value up 53 percent to $56.6 million.
  • Central/South America: volume up 11 percent to 8.6 million pounds and value up 40 percent to $16 million – paced by Chile (up 52 percent in volume to 3.1 million pounds and 50 percent in value to $7.3 million).
  • ASEAN: volume up 71 percent to 5.7 million pounds and value up 29 percent to $11.6 million, with growth to the Philippines (up 55 percent in volume to 3.5 million pounds valued at $6.9 million, a 32 percent increase) helping fuel the increases.

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