Another Strong Month for U.S. Beef Exports

August Beef ExportsU.S. beef exports posted another outstanding performance in August, remaining well above last year’s pace.

August beef exports totaled 247.1 million pounds, up 5 percent from a year ago and the largest monthly volume of 2017. Export value was the second-highest on record at $679.1 million – up 20 percent from a year ago and trailing only the record-high value ($688.8 million) reached in October 2014. For January through August, beef exports increased 10 percent in volume (1.8 billion pounds) and 16 percent in value ($4.65 billion) compared to the first eight months of 2016.

Exports accounted for 12.5 percent of total U.S. beef production in August and 10.4 percent for muscle cuts only, compared to 13.7 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, last year. For January through August, beef exports accounted for 12.8 percent of total production (down from 13.2 percent) and 10.1 percent (steady with last year) for muscle cuts. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $290.05 in August, up 13 percent from a year ago. Through August, per-head export value was up 9 percent to $275.81.

Exports to Japan Largest of Post-BSE Era

August beef exports to leading market Japan totaled 68.3 million pounds, up 22 percent from a year ago and the largest of the post-BSE era. Export value to Japan increased 35 percent and broke the $200 million mark ($200.05 million) for the first time since May 1996. For January through August, exports to Japan were up 23 percent in volume (461.9 million pounds) and 30 percent in value ($1.28 billion).

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 true impact of the higher duty rate will be revealed over the next few months, but August demand was not significantly affected. Frozen exports were 22 million pounds, up 15 percent from a year ago and just 2 percent below July. Chilled shipments accelerated at a faster rate (36.9 million pounds, up 62 percent year-over-year and up 27 percent from July), but this was already the trend prior to the duty rate increase on frozen beef.

Similar to July, beef exports to South Korea dipped slightly from a year ago in volume (37.9 million pounds, down 2 percent) but were still the largest of 2017, while August value increased 19 percent to $116.9 million. Through August, exports to Korea increased 8 percent in volume (256 million pounds) and 19 percent in value ($746.3 million) These totals included an impressive 88 percent increase in chilled beef exports (to 60.4 million pounds) valued at $243.8 million (up 94 percent).

Strong Rebound Continues in Hong Kong

After a slow start to the year, exports to Hong Kong continued to climb in August, with volume up 26 percent year-over-year to 20.4 million pounds and value increasing 41 percent to $67.7 million. January-August exports increased 14 percent in volume (164.5 million pounds) and were 24 percent higher in value ($485.5 million). Since the mid-June market opening, beef exports to China totaled 1 million pounds valued at just under $6 million.

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

  • Despite trending lower in August, beef exports to Taiwan increased 10 percent from a year ago in volume (62.9 million pounds) and 20 percent in value ($256.4 million). This included chilled beef exports of 26.1 million pounds (up 17 percent) valued at $140 million (up 22 percent). U.S. beef holds more than 70 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market, the highest of any Asian destination.
  • Led by Chile, Peru and Colombia, beef exports to South America increased 21 percent year-over-year in volume (41.4 million pounds) and 22 percent in value ($74.5 million).
  • Growing demand for U.S. beef in the ASEAN region’s foodservice and retail sectors helped push exports up 74 percent year-over-year in volume (58.1 million pounds), with value up 55 percent to $130.1 million. Exports to Indonesia and Vietnam were double last year’s level, while strong growth was also achieved in the Philippines, the region’s largest market for U.S. beef.
  • Exports to Canada saw a strong increase in August, pushing January-August volume up 3 percent in volume (171.4 million pounds) and value up 6 percent to $543.7 million.
  • South Africa continued to gain momentum as a strong market for U.S. beef variety meat, maintaining its position as the fourth-largest volume destination for these items. January-August variety meat exports totaled 21.8 million pounds, up 249 percent from a year ago.

The above statistics are released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation, a contractor to the beef checkoff. Complete January-August export results for U.S. beef are available from USMEF’s statistics web page. Monthly charts for U.S. beef exports are also available here.

If you have questions, please contact Joe Schuele at or call 303-226-7309. For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit

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