Beef sales to Japan, Mexico and Canada all posted solid gains in August along with a resurgent Taiwan market as overall U.S. beef exports grew 5 percent in volume and 16 percent in value compared to year-ago levels, reaching 105,544 metric tons valued at $563.3 million.

For the first eight months of 2012, beef exports are up 1 percent in volume and 10 percent in value to 767,017 metric tons valued at $4.01 billion.

The continued absence of the Russian market – closed to U.S. beef and pork products since February – continues to hinder exports. Excluding Russia, U.S. pork exports to all other markets are only down 1 percent this year, while beef exports are up 8 percent in volume and 16 percent in value.

“Challenges appear in many forms, including market closures and disruptions, international competition and product oversupply,” says Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

“For example, while the United States has enjoyed impressive growth in beef exports to Hong Kong, we remain locked out of the fastest-growing beef market in the world – China."

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Per-head export values remain strong
Both pork and beef exports produced solid per-head values in August. The export value per head of fed slaughter for beef in August averaged $253.87, up $46.16 from last year. For pork, per-head totals were $52.43, up from $49.84 last year. Beef exports accounted for 11 percent of muscle cuts and 13.6 percent of total production, up roughly 1 percentage point for each.

Top beef markets
The top three export markets for U.S. beef all performed well in August. USMEF’s continued efforts to capitalize on expanded access for American beef in Japan helped sustain growth, which amounted to a 36.5 percent hike in volume (24,009 metric tons) and 13.3 percent in value ($135.1 million) in August.

For the year, U.S. exports to Japan are up 53 percent in volume (166,884 metric tons) and 38 percent in value ($990.9 million).

Totals for Mexico in August rose 11.2 percent in volume: 20,208 metric tons valued at $88.9 million, a 24 percent jump, which helped year-to-date totals that are down 7 percent in volume and 5 percent in value (130,897 metric tons valued at $559.7 million).

Exports to Canada continued their positive trend, up 9.3 percent in volume (15,355 metric tons) and 7.6 percent in value ($104.6 million). Yearly totals are up 8 percent in volume (119,896 metric tons) and 12 percent in value ($825.5 million).

Other top-performing beef markets in August included:

  • Hong Kong: up 67 percent in volume (11,904 metric tons) and 142 percent in value ($78.2 million)
  • South Korea: up 35.8 percent in value ($47.8 million) on slightly (2.6 percent) lower volume of 7,646 metric tons
  • Taiwan: up 578 percent in volume (3,092 metric tons) and 684 percent in value ($24.9 million) as the rebuilding of the U.S. beef market there continues since technical issues regarding feed additives were partially resolved late last year.
  • Central/South America: up 13 percent (3,747 metric tons) in volume and 24 percent in value ($14.7 million), led by strong growth to Chile: up 37.7 percent in volume (1,139 metric tons) and 43.1 percent in value ($6.6 million)  end mark

—From U.S. Meat Export Federation news release