New figures from the U.S. Meat Export Federation show July beef exports topped $1 billion for the sixth time in 2022 en route to the fifth-largest month on record for volume, continuing the trend of solid export figures throughout the year.

Beef export figures through July are showing big growth for beef value, which is up 29% to $7.2 billion. It’s something USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom says is a credit to robust global demand for American beef, and there appears to be more room for growth.

“Exports have also benefited from a partial rebound in the foodservice sector, but this recovery is far from complete,” Halstrom said. “Many markets are still gradually easing COVID restrictions, so we definitely see opportunities for further growth as restaurant traffic returns. Headwinds remain formidable, however, including further devaluation of key trading partner currencies.”

Japan remains the top market for beef volume, and South Korea is leading the way on value despite a slight dip in its year-over-year figures for July.

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The pork complex is having a rougher year; the volume of exports through July is down 17%, and the value has dropped 15% to $1.49 billion. Halstrom pointed to some positive signals on the per-unit price of U.S. pork and said USMEF is “encouraged by the recent trendlines for pork variety meat exports, especially to China and Mexico."

USMEF’s lamb export figures show big increases for 2022, with muscle cut value through July being 82% higher — for a total of $7.7 million — and volume increasing 94%. The group did note concerns it has raised with USDA “about export data collected by the Department of Commerce for lamb variety meat, as the reported tonnage seemed disproportionately high.”

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