August Exports Soar to New Heights
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Beef exports show strong growth in nearly all major markets
August was another outstanding month for U.S. beef exports, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. Beef exports set an all-time monthly value record at $514.2 million on a strong volume of 256 billion pounds. Beef exports are on pace to set new value records in 2011 and to eclipse the $5 billion mark for the first time ever.
Despite slipping slightly from July in terms of volume, a strong August performance pushed beef exports 26 percent higher for the year in volume (1.8 billion pounds) and 39 percent higher in value ($3.58 billion). August exports equated to 14 percent of total U.S. production, with a value of more than $214 per head of fed slaughter. (This compared to just under 12 percent and $159.59 per head in August 2010.) For the year, beef exports equated to 14.2 percent of production with a value of more than $200 per head.
Though down from the record pace established in July, beef exports to Canada remained very strong at 43 million pounds valued at $114.6 million. This was 44 percent higher in volume and 55 percent higher in value than in August 2010. For the first eight months of the year, Canada has been the leading value destination for U.S. beef at $709.7 million (up 54 percent from last year and already a new full-year record) and second only to Mexico in volume at 288 million pounds (up 33 percent).
Mexico was the volume pacesetter for U.S. beef at 374 million pounds and second in value at $646 million. These totals were up 6 percent and 24 percent, respectively, over last year’s pace. August export value of $93.4 million was easily Mexico’s highest monthly total of the year.
The Middle East continued to shine as a region of tremendous growth for U.S. beef, with totals through August running 37 higher than last year in volume (249 million pounds) and 46 percent higher in value ($220.7 million). Egypt was the mainstay market in the region but growth was also strong in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar – markets aggressively targeted this year by beef checkoff programs.
Asian markets were also an excellent source of growth for U.S. beef exports, including Japan (up 38 percent in volume to 240 million pounds and 44 percent in value to $583.6 million), Korea (up 49 percent to 242 million pounds and 41 percent to $485.6 million), Hong Kong (up 66 percent to 74 million pounds and 98 percent to $151.2 million) and the Philippines (up 21 percent to 19 million pounds and 37 percent to $25.6 million). Taiwan was the exception to this trend, dropping 7 percent in volume (49 million pounds) and 6 percent in value ($123.1 million) due to regulatory changes that have created an uncertain business climate for importers.
The Central-South America region increased purchases of U.S. beef by 50 percent in volume (38 million pounds) and 66 percent in value ($49.8 million) over last year. Chile, Peru and Guatemala have been the primary centers of growth in the region, but exports should be further bolstered by free trade agreements with Panama and Colombia.
Complete export statistics through August are available online.
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.