November Beef Exports Strong

Beef ExportsNovember 2017 U.S. beef export value took another step toward a likely full-year value record.

Beef export volume reached 246.7 million pounds in November, down 3 percent from November 2016 but still the second-highest monthly total of the year. Export value was also the second-largest of 2017 at $666.4 million, up 8 percent year-over-year. January-November export volume totaled 2.5 billion pounds, up 7 percent, while export value climbed to $6.6 billion – up 15 percent from a year ago and slightly above the record pace established in 2014.

Beef exports accounted for 13.1 percent of total production in November, the highest since July but down from 14.9 percent in November 2016. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 10.9 percent – down from 11.7 percent in November 2016. For January through November, beef exports accounted for 12.8 percent of total production (down from 13.5 percent in 2016) and 10.3 percent for muscle cuts (steady with 2016).

November beef export value averaged $306.63 per head of fed slaughter, up 4 percent from a year ago and the highest in nearly three years. January-November export value averaged $282.34 per head, up 9 percent.

Japan, Hong Kong drive beef export growth; new value records in Korea and Taiwan

Japan continued to be the pacesetter for U.S. beef exports in November, with volume increasing 5 percent year-over-year to 54.7 million pounds, and value up 6 percent to $159.2 million. This pushed Japan’s 11-month totals to 629.1 million pounds (up 20 percent) valued at $1.75 billion (up 27 percent and a new post-BSE record). Chilled beef exports reached 303.6 million pounds through November, up 35 percent, valued at a record-high $1.02 billion, up 39 percent.

Approaching Chinese New Year, beef exports to Hong Kong gained momentum in October and climbed again in November, with volume up 20 percent from a year ago to 35.5 million pounds (the largest since December 2014) and value soaring 43 percent to $119 million. Through November, exports to Hong Kong climbed 13 percent in volume (250.1 million pounds) and 26 percent in value ($765 million).

November exports to China were 1.4 million pounds, the largest since the mid-June market opening, valued at $5.7 million. Through November, exports reached 4.9 million pounds valued at $22.8 million.

Other January-November highlights for U.S. beef exports include:

  • Driven by strong retail demand and reduced tariffs under KORUS, beef exports to South Korea have already set a new value record. Through November, exports increased 5 percent year-over-year in volume to 369.3 million pounds, valued at $1.1 billion – up 19 percent from a year ago and edging past the 2016 record of $1.06 billion. Chilled beef exports to Korea accelerated at an even faster rate, jumping 88 percent in volume to a record 90.6 million pounds – valued at $368.5 million, up 93 percent.
  • A new value record was also established in Taiwan, where U.S. beef holds more than 70 percent of the chilled beef market. Through November, exports to Taiwan increased 3 percent from a year ago in volume (89.1 million pounds) while value climbed 16 percent to $369.9 million – breaking the 2016 record of $362.8 million.
  • November beef exports to Mexico dipped 8 percent in volume from a year ago to 44.4 million pounds, but value increased 2 percent to $80.8 million. Through November, exports to Mexico matched the first 11 months of 2016 in both volume (477.9 million pounds) and value ($894.1 million). Mexico is the second-largest volume market for U.S. beef (behind Japan) and ranks third in value (after Japan and Korea).
  • Strong growth in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam pushed January-November exports to the ASEAN region to 83.9 million pounds, up 46 percent year-over-year, valued at $193.3 million (up 39 percent).
  • Led by Chile, Peru and Colombia, beef exports to South America have already set new annual records. Through November, exports increased 27 percent from a year ago in volume (59.1 million pounds) and 23 percent in value ($106 million). Since shipments began in April, exports to Brazil have shown solid potential, reaching 4.4 million pounds valued at $7 million.

Export results are released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the beef checkoff. Complete January-November 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 or call 303-226-7309.

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