DENVER, CO. Nov. 18, 2013 – The value of U.S. beef exports  - up nearly 16 percent to Japan, 56 percent to Mexico, 182 percent to Hong Kong and more than 41 percent to South Korea in September – is on track to exceed the 2012 record of $5.51 billion, according to USDA data analyzed by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Global demand for beef is growing as the U.S. cattle herd – hard hit by droughts, blizzards and high feed prices – has been shrinking from it’s peak of 115 million in the 1980s to slightly over 90 million.

However, U.S. pork exports were headed in the other direction, driven largely by the decline in pork exports to Japan and Russia.

“On the beef side, the industry aggressively pursued the opportunities available for U.S. product when market access was expanded in Japan and Hong Kong, and we are seeing exciting growth in both those markets,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “On the pork side, we are continuing to face challenges from strong competition in Japan that is driving down our market share, and access issues with Russia continue to hamper our industry, both in pork and beef.”

U.S. pork exports received a boost from sales to the China/Hong Kong region – up 14 percent in volume and 24 percent in value for the month – as well as strong sales to the ASEAN region (up 45 percent in volume and nearly 47 percent in value for September), according to USMEF.  However, continued access restrictions to Russia and a very competitive market in Japan continued to keep pork exports down 5 percent in value and more than 9 percent in volume for the month and 5 percent in both categories for the year.

The decline in pork exports to just Japan and Russia amount to nearly all of the drop-off in pork export volume this year (81,874 metric tons of a total 85,705 metric ton decline) and more than the total dip in export value ($246.7 million decline from the two markets versus $213 million overall).

Other key findings by USMEF:


Japan remains the top export market for U.S. beef in 2013. Exports to Japan are up 52 percent in volume (183,942 metric tons) and 35 percent in value ($1.1 billion) for the year, accounting for 21.3 percent of the total volume of U.S. beef exports and 24.2 percent of the value.

The No. 2 volume market for U.S. beef is Mexico, which  took larger volumes for four consecutive months. September exports increasing nearly 65 percent in volume (18,990 metric tons) and 56 percent in value ($82 million) over year-ago levels. For the year, it is down just 1 percent in volume (149,887 metric tons) and even in value at $641.7 million.

Canada remains a strong market for U.S. beef, second in value and third in volume for the year at 133,776 metric tons (up 6 percent) valued at $912.9 million (up 10 percent).

Pork exports

Mexico remains the top volume market for U.S. pork in 2013, with volume up 1 percent to 446,827 metric tons valued at $849.8 million, a 4 percent increase. Japan is the No. 1 value market at $1.4 billion, a 6 percent decline year-over-year, while volume is down 8 percent to 317,710 metric tons.

Boosted by a strong September, exports to China/Hong Kong were even in volume (313,379 metric tons) and up 6 percent in value ($670.4 million).

Other key pork export markets for 2013 include:

     Canada: down 1 percent in volume (171,091 metric tons) but up 1 percent in value ($637.5 million)

     Central/South America: up 32 percent in volume (79,880 metric tons) and 29 percent in value ($199.4 million) led by strong growth to Colombia, Honduras and Chile

     South Korea: down 33 percent in volume (70,776 metric tons) and 36 percent in value ($194.9 million)

     ASEAN: up 44 percent in volume (50,456 metric tons) and 39 percent in value ($121.6 million) led by strong growth to the Philippines and Singapore

Lamb exports mixed

Lamb exports remained mixed, off 3 percent in volume for the year (9,720 metric tons) but up 10 percent in value ($21.5 million). For September, two of the top three markets (Mexico and Canada) declined in double digits while the Caribbean was up in double digits. During the month, total lamb exports were 764 metric tons (down over 42 percent) valued at $1.9 million (down more than 17 percent).


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