Beef Exports Continue Upward Trend

Paced by sustained strong performances by the Japan and Hong Kong markets and a rebound in Mexico, U.S. beef exports in September remained ahead of 2012 levels, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by checkoff contractor U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Powered by a 37 percent jump in the volume of beef exports to Japan, 65 percent to Mexico and 102 percent to Hong Kong, U.S. beef exports rose nearly 5 percent in September and are up 1 percent for the year. The value of those exports – up nearly 16 percent to Japan, 56 percent to Mexico, 182 percent to Hong Kong and more than 41 percent to South Korea – drove the value of U.S. beef exports up 14 percent for the month and they remain 10 percent ahead of the 2012 pace that set a record of $5.51 billion.

“On the beef side, the industry aggressively pursued the opportunities available for U.S. product when market access was expanded in Japan and Hong Kong, and we are seeing exciting growth in both those markets,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “Strong competition in Japan is driving down our market share, and access issues with Russia continue to hamper our industry, both in pork and beef.”

For the month of September, the United States exported 208.7 million pounds of beef valued at $505.5 million, accounting for 13 percent of total beef production and 11 percent of muscle cuts (versus 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively, last September). The export value per head of fed slaughter in September was $249, up from $227.65 a year ago.

Top beef markets
Japan remains the top export market for U.S. beef in 2013. Exports to Japan are up 52 percent in volume (405.5 million pounds) and 35 percent in value ($1.1 billion) for the year, accounting for 21.3 percent of the total volume of U.S. beef exports and 24.2 percent of the value.

The No. 2 volume market for U.S. beef, Mexico took larger volumes for four consecutive months, with September exports increasing nearly 65 percent in volume (41.8 million pounds) and 56 percent in value ($82 million) over year-ago levels. For the year, it is down just 1 percent in volume (330.4 million pounds) and even in value at $641.7 million.

Canada remains a strong market for U.S. beef, second in value and third in volume for the year at 294.9 million pounds (up 6 percent) valued at $912.9 million (up 10 percent).

Other key beef export markets for 2013 include:

  • Hong Kong: up 96 percent in volume (186.2 million pounds) and 137 percent in value ($530.9 million)
  • South Korea: down 19 percent in volume (167.4 million pounds) and 2 percent in value ($419 million)
  • Middle East: down 3 percent in volume (246.6 million pounds) and 18 percent in value ($211.8 million) for the year, with the decline coming in the competitive Egyptian muscle cut market
  • Central/South America: up 24 percent in volume (71.7 million pounds) and 15 percent in value ($113.7 million) led by strong growth to Peru, Chile and Colombia
  • Taiwan: up 135 percent in volume (51.6 million pounds) and 195 percent in value ($185.7 million).

Complete export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available online. For more information about your beef checkoff investment in foreign marketing programs, visit

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The beef checkoff increases beef demand through promotion, research and new product development, and a variety of other marketing tools.