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US beef exports show strength

Beef

Beef exports totaled 119,066 metric tonnes, up 13% from a year ago, while value soared 57% to $1.03 billion.

Posted on Mar 15 ,12:02

US beef exports show strength

US beef industry started the year on a high note, with volume reaching 119,066 metric tonnes, up 13% from a year ago, while value soared 57% to $1.03 billion, according to the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). This was the third-highest value total on record – trailing only August and November of last year – and export value per head of fed slaughter set a new record, topping $500 for the first time.

“This is a truly remarkable run for US beef exports, and the momentum is not limited to our large Asian markets,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Regions such as Central America and the Caribbean contributed significantly to January export growth, and export value made strong gains in the Middle East.”

Beef exports to South Korea reached a record $2.38 billion in 2021, and demand didn’t miss a beat in January. Exports to Korea climbed 39% from a year ago to 29,578 tonnes, while export value nearly doubled to a record $316.5 million (up 99%). While US beef’s pandemic-era growth in Korea has been largely driven by soaring retail demand, the foodservice outlook is also brightening as health officials recently loosened social distancing requirements and allowed longer operating hours for restaurants. Korea’s tariff rate on US beef, which was 40% before the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement entered into force, dropped to 10.7% this year and will reach zero at the end of 2026.
Demand for US beef in China/Hong Kong remained strong in January, climbing 69% from a year ago to 19,772 tonnes, while export value more than doubled ($194.2 million, up 115%). USMEF projects continued growth for US beef in the region this year, though at a more moderate rate than in 2021 when export volume increased 87% year-over-year to more than 240,000 tonnes. Meaningful access to China – which was first achieved in early 2020 through the Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement – is also a supportive factor in the prices US beef cuts command in other Asian markets.
January beef exports to Japan were up 4% from a year ago at 22,936 tonnes, while value jumped an impressive 32% to $181.7 million. Exports were bolstered by a strong performance for beef variety meat – mainly tongues and skirts – which increased 20% in volume (4,367 mt) and 69% in value ($41.8 million).
Exports to Taiwan, the Middle East, Vietnam, Central America and the Caribbean have also contributed to the increase reported by USMEF for the first month of the year.

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