U.S. Beef Exports Continue to Trend Higher in September

September beef exportsSeptember 2017 beef exports edged higher in volume and jumped substantially in value. Although lower than the previous month, September beef export volume improved 2 percent from a year ago to 228.3 million pounds. Export value topped $600 million for the fourth consecutive month at $616.9 million, up 16 percent from a year ago. January-September volume was 2 billion pounds, up 9 percent from the first three quarters of 2016, while export value was $5.27 billion – up 16 percent year-over-year and 2 percent above the record pace established in 2014.

Beef exports accounted for 12.5 percent of total production in September, down one percentage point from a year ago, but the percentage of muscle cuts exported increased from 10.2 percent last year to 10.4 percent. For January through September, beef exports accounted for 12.8 percent of total production (down from 13.2 percent) and 10.1 percent for muscle cuts (steady with last year).

September beef export value averaged $289.14 per head of fed slaughter, up 13 percent from a year ago. January-September export value averaged $277.31 per head, up 10 percent.

Beef exports higher to most regions, but hurricanes impact Caribbean demand

Strong momentum for U.S. beef continued in most Asian and Western Hemisphere markets in September, though exports faced some new headwinds. Exports to leading market Japan held up well in September despite Japan’s recent duty rate increase (from 38.5 percent to 50 percent) on imports of frozen U.S. beef. September exports of frozen beef to Japan were up 44 percent from a year ago to 23.2 million pounds, while chilled exports increased 38 percent to 27.9 million pounds.

For January through September, exports to Japan increased 22 percent in volume (521.5 million pounds) and 30 percent in value ($1.45 billion). This included a 42 percent increase in chilled beef exports (249.9 million pounds) valued at $833 million (up 45 percent). Frozen beef was up 15.5 percent to 188.3 million pounds, valued at $334 million (up 23 percent).

Through the first three quarters of 2017, market-specific highlights for U.S. beef include:

  • Fueled by rapidly growing demand in South Korea’s retail sector, export volume to Korea increased 7 percent from a year ago to 290.5 million pounds. Export value ($856.9 million, up 20 percent) is on pace to easily break last year’s record of $1.06 billion. These totals include an 85 percent increase in chilled beef exports (69.8 million pounds), valued at $283 million (up 92 percent), as U.S. beef continues to gain market share in Korea.
  • Taiwan is also an outstanding destination for chilled U.S. beef, with the U.S. holding more than 70 percent of the chilled beef market. Through September, chilled exports to Taiwan were up 19 percent in volume (30 million pounds) and 24 percent in value ($162 million). Total exports to Taiwan increased 9 percent in volume (72.5 million pounds) and 21 percent in value ($297.5 million).
  • Within North America, September beef exports slowed slightly from a year ago in volume to both Mexico and Canada, but increased in value. Through September, exports to Mexico remained slightly ahead of last year’s pace in volume (387.1 million pounds, up 1 percent) and slightly lower in value ($726.9 million, down 1 percent). Exports to Canada were up 3 percent in volume (191.1 million pounds) and 6 percent in value ($603.8 million).
  • Strong growth in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam pushed beef exports to the ASEAN region 68 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (66.1 million pounds) and 53 percent higher in value ($149.1 million). The region is especially strong for beef variety meat, with exports through September more than doubling from a year ago in both volume (18.8 million pounds, up 125 percent) and value ($15.6 million, up 135 percent).
  • With hurricanes inflicting severe damage on several Caribbean islands, September beef exports to the region slipped dramatically from a year ago in both volume (3.6 million pounds, down 22 percent) and value ($9.9 million, down 48 percent). Through September, exports to the Caribbean were still up 4 percent from a year ago in volume (39.2 million pounds), but value fell 6 percent to $118.2 million.

Statistics for beef exports are released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation, contractor to the beef checkoff. Complete January-September 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.

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