U.S. Beef Exports Stay Red Hot in July

July Beef ExportsU.S. beef exports remained well above last year’s pace in July, posting one of the highest monthly export value totals on record.

July beef exports totaled 230.4 million pounds, up 5 percent year-over-year, while export value reached $623.7 million – up 18 percent from a year ago and the highest since December 2014. For January through July, exports increased 11 percent in volume (1.6 billion pounds) and 15 percent in value ($3.97 billion) compared to the first seven months of last year.

Exports accounted for 13.2 percent of total U.S. beef production in July and 10.7 percent for muscle cuts only. These were the highest ratios of 2017, but down from 14.2 percent and 11 percent, respectively, last July. For January through July, beef exports accounted for 12.8 percent of total production and 10 percent for muscle cuts – roughly steady with last year. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $299.21 in July, up more than $35 (or 13 percent) from a year ago. Through July, per-head export value was up 9 percent to $273.52.

Beef export volume to Japan largest in four years; value highest of post-BSE era

Beef exports to leading market Japan totaled 61 million pounds in July, up 20 percent from a year ago and the largest since July 2013 – which was shortly after Japan increased the eligible U.S. cattle age to 30 months. July export value to Japan increased 36 percent to $175.7 million, the highest monthly total since 1996. For January through July, exports to Japan were up 23 percent in volume (393.5 million pounds) and 29 percent in value ($1.08 billion). USMEF’s featuring of chilled beef in Japan continues to pay dividends as chilled exports were up 39 percent to 185.1 million pounds valued at $613 million (up 40 percent). Driven by strong growth in Japan’s foodservice industry, especially the gyudon beef bowl chains which heavily rely on U.S. short plate, U.S. frozen beef exports to Japan were up 12 percent to 143.1 million pounds (valued at $250 million, up 18 percent). But Japan’s frozen beef safeguard was triggered in late July, increasing the duty on frozen beef imports from suppliers without a trade agreement with Japan, including the U.S., from 38.5 percent to 50 percent. The impact of the safeguard is not likely to surface until the September export data is available. But since August, U.S. frozen beef has been at an even larger tariff disadvantage compared to Australian beef, which is subject to a duty rate of 27.2 percent under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.

Beef exports to South Korea dipped below the large volume of last July to 34.4 million pounds (down 5 percent), but were still the largest of 2017. July export value to Korea increased 8 percent from a year ago to $101.7 million. Through July, exports to Korea increased 9 percent in volume (218.1 million pounds) and 19 percent in value ($629.4 million), including an impressive 83 percent increase in chilled beef exports (49.5 million pounds) valued at $199 million (up 88 percent). The U.S. is now the largest supplier of beef to both Japan and Korea on a value basis, with the U.S. share of Korea’s imports increasing from 43 percent to 48.5 percent.

Other January-July highlights for U.S. beef exports included:

  • After a slow start in 2017, beef exports to Hong Kong continue to rebound. Exports were up 13 percent year-over-year in volume (144.1 million pounds) and 21 percent higher in value ($417.8 million). July was the first full month for exports to China, as exports totaled 302,000 pounds valued at $1.3 million.
  • Beef exports to Taiwan increased 16 percent from a year ago in volume (53.4 million pounds) and 24 percent in value ($215.5 million), including chilled beef exports of 21.8 million pounds (up 19 percent) valued at $114 million (up 22 percent). U.S. beef holds more than 70 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market, the highest share of any Asian destination.
  • Led by strong growth in Chile, Peru and Colombia, beef exports to South America increased 20 percent year-over-year in volume (35.6 million pounds) and 21 percent in value ($63.2 million). Exports to Brazil, which launched in late April, reached 2.6 million pounds valued at $3.2 million.
  • A strong performance in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam fueled 79 percent year-over-year growth in export volume to the ASEAN region (51.5 million pounds), with value up 59 percent to $114.1 million. This region is especially strong for beef variety meat exports, as volume reached 15.8 million pounds (up 176 percent) valued at $12.5 million (up 164 percent).
  • Within North America, beef exports were fairly steady with last year as Mexico continues to be the second-largest volume destination for U.S. beef exports while Canada ranks fourth. Exports to Mexico increased 2 percent in volume (296.6 million pounds) but slipped 2 percent in value ($544.8). Exports to Canada were up 1 percent in volume (150.1 million pounds) and 4 percent in value ($475.7 million).

These statistics are released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the beef checkoff.

Complete January-July export results for U.S. beef are available from USMEF’s statistics web page. Monthly charts for U.S. beef exports are also available online.

If you have questions, please contact Joe Schuele at jschuele@usmef.org or call 303-226-7309.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.

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